On Deciding to Buy the Next iPhone

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For those who aren’t aware, I own an iPhone X 256GB in White (it’s more like a dishwater-white, but that’s another story). When the iPhone Xs was announced, at first I reacted with “I have to have this”, followed up with “I think I’ll find it useful.”

This is the first year in the years I’ve owned iPhones that I haven’t been able to come up with a laundry list of reasons why I’d want the next iPhone. To be clear, I’m still buying it (and in fact, I did–I bought an iPhone Xs 256GB space gray), but I had to think about it a bit more.

I’m ok with this, overall. It’s entirely healthy to question such a large purchase and outside of “having the latest and greatest just because”, not opting to dive in right away is a smart move. In the end, I could only come up with a few reasons why I wanted this year’s model, and really these were enough to get me to bite the bullet:

  • Change out the dishwater-white for space gray. I might regret this color choice if it turns out the white is now white-white.
  • Photo processing capabilities. I was entertained and convinced by the new photo capability the iPhone Xs will have, I assume thanks to software and its updated A12 Bionic chip with the faster Neural Engines.
  • Better sensor. The pixels are closer together by way of being larger (the sensor itself is the same size) and they’re “deeper,” whatever that means. I can appreciate the former, for sure.
  • The A12 chip in general. I can always get behind the idea of a faster processor.

After this phone has spent a year in my possession, unless Apple announces something riveting or presents unique new features, I’m not sure I’ll stick to the yearly upgrade cycle.

This goes for the Watch, too. I plan on buying the Series 4 Cellular, but I don’t know which size, yet. Given the cases are different–I wear a 42mm now–I don’t know if the 44mm will be too big or if the 40mm will be too small. Technically, the 40mm screen size is larger than the 42mm, so that’s something to sway me in that direction–and toward a cheaper watch. I’ve longed for more at-a-glance-capable data on my watch face and that’s about it. My battery life is pretty dang good–I can go two days easily without charging, three if I use Power Reserve mode at night. Unless the Series 5 is fundamentally different as well, I can’t see myself grabbing one. Then again, if they make the steel case cheaper–I want one now, but turned off by the price–that might be enough.

I am an Apple sheep, as some would say, and I’m okay with that. I also know that when there’s no net new value to be had in a device I’m buying, I’m likely to hold off. That’s not to say I won’t buy one ever… maybe just not on launch day.