The contrarian way to save gobs of money on the new iPhone 8 or iPhone X

; Date: Tue Sep 12 2017

Tags: Apple »»»» Apple iPhone

Yesterday, Apple did their best to wow us with their technical prowess and drool over the new features in the iPhone 8 and iPhone X. The numbering of these devices is even news-making considering that Apple skipped past the iPhone 9. Are you among the throng chomping at the bit to buy one of these new phones? And are you checking your bank account and maybe considering taking out a second mortgage to pay the price?

Let me suggest a way to save a lot of money on these devices in a very straight-forward strategy that is also full of environmental goodness. You might even use this strategy as a way to send a message to Apple that you want an iPhone with a headphone jack.

The idea is very simple: Don't buy an iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus or iPhone X right now. Wait a couple years, and the price for these new phones will fall to where they're affordable by mere mortals.

Consider something -- as desirable as Apple makes the new features sound, are they truly necessary? Apple has had years of experience in shaping messaging so it appears absolutely critical to upgrade to the latest and greatest. That's a form of psychological manipulation, and we the consumer don't have to fall for the scam.

Apple, and many other technology-gadget companies, rests their business model on getting customers to upgrade to the latest-and-greatest every 2 years or so. Apple's soaring stock price is based on Apple's success in keeping its customers on the upgrade treadmill. It means Apple's management has a fiduciary duty to keep sales high enough to consistently show year-on-year sales growth. If Apple so much as trips in a given quarter the stock price would be punished and stock analysts would pointedly demand to know how Apple could be such a failure.

There are two problems with that. First it saddles consumers with an expensive purchase every so often. It's not so much that you really have to take out a second mortgage on the house. But, at $700 or so for a cell phone, the iPhone is very pricey.

The other problem is environmental, because it leads to a huge pile of electronics gadgets prematurely going into landfills. That "old" iPhone N that everyone thinks is worthless and out of date? How many people just toss the old model as soon as they've bought the new one? That's e-Waste heading to landfills that is a huge environmental problem. First, these phones are stuffed to the gills with valuable rare minerals that could be recycled, avoiding the environmental ills of mining those minerals. Second, who knows what happens to electronics as they rot in a landfill.

What am I suggesting? Keep your iPhone longer than the 2 year schedule Apple wants you to follow. That step will slow the overall rate of iPhone consumption, lessening the environmental impact because fewer phones overall would be sold.

The other step is to consider buying an older phone rather than buying the latest-and-greatest.

An ( iPhone 6 on eBay runs about $290 for a 64 GB unlocked model, and you can find them for AT&T/T-Mobile or Verizon. The 128GB model is going for closer to $350.

The ( iPhone 6s on eBay is of course going for a bit more. An iPhone 6s, unlocked, 64 GB, is close to $400, while the 124GB model is closer to $440.

Going for an ( iPhone 5s on eBay doesn't save much over the iPhone 6, so you might as well go for the iPhone 6.

An ( iPhone 4s on eBay, however, is an excellent deal, being available for well under $100.

By contrast, the iPhone 8 goes for $699 for 64GB of storage, or $849 for 256GB of storage. And, the iPhone X goes for a cool $1000 with 64GB of storage, and $1149 for 256GB of storage. Um? Really?

It's a mobile computing device with a telephone application, not the second coming of Christ. Yes the iPhone X sounds kind of amazing between its OLED screen and 12MP camera, but is it really worth that much money?

I have an iPhone 6 for which I paid full price when they were first launched. At that time I was hankering for a new phone because my iPhone 4 seemed old and worn out. So, yes, I fall prey to Apple's wiles at convincing me to buy the latest and greatest. However, at this time that iPhone 6 is still going strong, and is still an extremely useful device in its own right. I see no need to upgrade.

I can wait on the iPhone X for a couple years. The iPhone 12 or whatever will look so mindbogglingly awesome, that along around 2019 people will be dumping their X's like they're mouldy bread and that's when I'll buy.

Or maybe the Android side of the universe will come up with something that still has a headphone jack and a good camera. In part my reluctance to buy right now is the headphone jack issue. C'mon Apple, this is too much. Headphone jack's are really useful and simple and straightforward. All the other considerations weigh on me as well. The cost of buying the newfangled gadget, the environmental footprint of my actions, and so on. Taken in total, the cost/impact of buying the newest gadget does not warrant buying one.

About the Author(s)

( David Herron : David Herron is a writer and software engineer focusing on the wise use of technology. He is especially interested in clean energy technologies like solar power, wind power, and electric cars. David worked for nearly 30 years in Silicon Valley on software ranging from electronic mail systems, to video streaming, to the Java programming language, and has published several books on Node.js programming and electric vehicles.