The way to Know When You Ought to Improve Your iPhone and What to Purchase
As you no doubt know by now, the latest version of iPhone is now available in stores. The new models, known as the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, offer a number of upgrades compared to previous years. However, that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to tell when it’s a good time to replace what you already have. To make matters even more complicated, there will be two more versions in a few weeks time – the iPhone 12 Mini and the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
One might wonder if the new models are just hype or if it’s worth the money to upgrade. Here’s a good rule: first, determine why you want to upgrade. Are you upgrading because your current device is no longer functional enough to meet your needs? Or are you upgrading because you always want the latest eye-catching features?
Most people fall somewhere in between, so I’ll break down what I think are reasons to upgrade and what you should get:
I just want an iPhone that works fine with the latest software.
Most iPhones are supported and will continue to receive software updates for four or five years. They should remain functional for at least that long. There are many people who enjoy using their iPhone 7 or 8 and some who are using older versions.
If your main goal is to have an affordable device that works well with iOS 14 and the latest apps, and you’re not interested in features like 5G, I recommend the iPhone 11 ($ 599). The A13 processor inside is faster than anything else on non-iPhone 12 series mobile devices. That processor is also found in the iPhone SE ($ 399), by the way, though the smaller display means some apps won’t work quite the same (although they will still work).
I would like to use the more up-to-date functions.
On the other hand, iPhone features usually change the most within two to three years. For example, the iPhone X came out in 2017 and was the first of Apple’s currently redesigned form factors. The iPhone 12 takes this design and refines it with flat edges at a price that starts at $ 829 or $ 799 for most vendors.
However, the cameras haven’t changed as much this year as they did last year, aside from the most expensive version, the iPhone 12 Pro Max (starting at $ 1,099). That means upgrading every two years is likely enough to always have the latest design and features. An iPhone 11 or iPhone 12 essentially gives you the latest features (except for 5G on the iPhone 11) and lasts long enough to last you for a few years until something really new is added.
I want to get the best overall score.
One of the great things about the iPhone is that Apple usually keeps older models for a few years at a discounted price. For example, this year you can get an iPhone 11 for $ 599 or an iPhone XR for $ 499. If you’re still using an iPhone 6, 7, or 8, that means a pretty big step up in terms of features and performance for a really reasonable price.
Alternatively, the iPhone SE offers the same camera as the XR and the internal processor of the iPhone 11 and costs just $ 399. Plus, it still has Touch ID, which is useful when you’re wearing a mask.
From the latest versions, I definitely recommend the iPhone 12 as the best option for most people. It has almost the same features as the Pro models, but it can save you a few hundred dollars depending on how much storage you get.
I just always want the best.
If you are, you are likely already upgrading every year or two at most. You’re likely buying the iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro – more likely the Pro. After all, those three extra letters are the Apple that lets you know you’re getting the best of what it has to offer. It is worth noting that this year the difference between these two models is no longer as great as it was in the past. The iPhone 12 now has an OLED display as well as 5G, just like the Pro.
The main difference is what Apple calls the 2X telephoto lens in the Pro version, plus the addition of ProRAW and the ability to record 4K video at 60 fps with Dolby Vision HDR. That’s a fancy way of saying that the photos and videos you take with any of the iPhone 12 versions (especially the Pro called Pro) will look great for a very long time.
If you really want to buy the best this year, this is the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which offers better image stabilization on the 1X wide angle lens as well as a longer telephoto lens than the iPhone 12 Pro. It also features a 6.7-inch display, which can be a bit big (and expensive) for most people, but hey, if you want the best, this is it.
The opinions expressed by Inc.com columnists here are their own, not those of Inc.com.