Should I buy and iPhone 5s now or wait for the iPhone 6

iPhone 6 release date roulette

iPhone 6. I should have known. The moment after I said we'd be restarting Ask iMore we got flooded with questions, and roughly half of them were variations on — What's the iPhone 6 release date? Should I buy the iPhone 5s now or wait for the iPhone 6? It's amazing that Apple manages to maintain such a high level of interest in the iPhone line even as it approaches the mid-point in its annual product cycle. It's also perfectly reasonable that people considering big electronics purchases — or contract extensions — want to make informed decisions. It's challenging to come up with an answer that both satisfies people's genuine curiosity, reasonably sets their expectations, but also points out Apple hasn't announced anything and likely won't for months and months to come. However, if you're not adverse to playing the odds, there is an answer I can give you now...

iPhone 6 release date if past is prologue

Apple announced the iPhone 5s on September 10, 2013 and released it on September 20, 2013. Apple announced the iPhone 5 on September 12, 2012 and released it on September 21, 2012. If Apple sticks to that pattern — big if — they'll announce the iPhone 6 on or around September 9 or 10, 2014, and set the release date for September 19, 2014.

Of course, Apple doesn't always stick to patterns. The iPhone 4s was announced on October 4, 2011 and released on October 14, 2011. The iPhone 4 was announced on June 7, 2010 and released on June 24, 2010. Hell, Apple announced and released the iPad 4 only six months after the iPad 3. Apple can always push back a production schedule if some hardware, software, or services component won't be ready in time, and they can always move it up simply to break patterns. So, it's a gamble. It's basically playing iPhone 6 release date roulette.

iPhone 6 later vs. iPhone 5s now

Here's the standard Mobile Nations advice — if you need a new iPhone now, today, get the iPhone 5s. If you don't need a new iPhone, now, today, wait as long as you can and then get whatever the best iPhone is when you do need it. After all, there will always be something better on the horizon.

However, if it's less about need and more about want, then you can always buy an iPhone 5s now, keep it in great condition, and then sell it when the iPhone 6 comes around. iPhones hold their value remarkably well, and we have a ton of readers who make sure they buy the new iPhone every year by selling their old iPhone.

It takes some work, and assumes some risk, and it's certainly not for everyone, but if you really want to have and iPhone 5s and an iPhone 6, it's something to consider.

Let me know what you're going to do in the comments below, and if you want to Ask iMore, email podcast@imore.com, Tweet @iMore with #askimore, or show up for the iMore show podcast and ask live!

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 31 comments. Add yours.

Becjr says:

"Here's the standard Mobile Nations advice — if you need a new iPhone now, today, get the iPhone 5s. If you don't need a new iPhone, now, today, wait as long as you can and then get whatever the best iPhone is when you do need it. After all, there will always be something better on the horizon."

- P E R F E C T A D V I C E

Antrikshy says:

If you can wait, why not get one as soon as the new one comes out? Don't you think it's better to have the newest for a whole year rather than a month? Apple has a fixed annual schedule.

Becjr says:

To quote Rene again, "If you don't need a new iPhone, now, today, wait as long as you can and then get whatever the best iPhone is when you do need it.".

You basically said that.

I have a held the same buying philosophy that Rene stated, which is IF you NEED a new iPhone because yours was broken, stolen, lost, or you just want a new one and you have the cash, why wait because your NEED is NOW. However, using myself as an example, I have and continue to use my iPhone 4S because it still works just fine. I will probably upgrade at the opportune moment, which in this case may be as early as the next iPhone [6] later this year. That way I get more milage out of my purchase.

It's the same reason why I tried to talk some family members into waiting a month to by new laptops for their business last Fall as Apple was on the threshold of resealing the latest & greatest, but the felt they needed new gear then & there, so they bought laptops that were replaced within about 3 weeks, actually. (An impulsive mistake in my opinion).

:D

Aenean144 says:

iPhones have amazing resale value. Some people buy one, sell it, then use the money to pay for the ETF and contract price for a new phone a year later. And they often come out even.

Becjr says:

There's a trend where people buy an unlocked iPhone, take good care of it, then sell it a year later when the new model is released with the money from their sale. [repeat every year]
Smart. Savvy? I'd like to be able to do that, but right now, I can't.
:D

Highrisedrifter says:

Becjr, that's pretty much what I do each year.

dreyfus2 says:

Nothing wrong with the advice at all.

Just, if only people NEEDING a new iPhone would buy one, I assume Apple would maybe sell 10% of what they are selling. My 3GS is still working fine (my aunt uses it now), still I bought the 4 (two times, as the white one was months late), the 4S, the 5 and the 5s. And I will likely refuse to buy the "6" for a fraction of an hour... I'm certainly nuts, but not nuts enough to convince myself that there is any need.

Antrikshy says:

"If you don't need a new iPhone, now, today, wait as long as you can and then get whatever the best iPhone is when you do need it. After all, there will always be something better on the horizon."

I disagree somewhat. If you can wait indefinitely, why not buy one as soon as a new one comes out? That way, you get a whole year with the newest model and possibly a whole another year of latest iOS support. In other words: waiting a month to get the next one >> buying a new one just a month before the next one.

Apple has a very fixed annual release schedule.

oscaramzz says:

I agree! I had an iPhone 4 for a couple years and it's was starting to become slow and unresponsive. It wasn't future proof any more as it couldn't handle all the features of iOS 7 (or 6), so I got the 5s and I love it! Yes a iPhone 6 will be just around the corner but I "needed" a new phone and I don't regret it.

Sent from the iMore App

Connor Mason says:

Strange that there is large enough interest to warrant an article! Apple's 12-month cycle is pretty standard. Just redirect people to the MacRumors buyer's guide-probably the most useful apple-related piece on the internet when it comes to this sort of thing.

Come to think of it, a Mobile Nations complete/constantly updated buyer's guide for Apple/Android/WP would be awesome. I think I forgot that in the survey.

cardfan says:

I think most know when the iphones last launched and can anticipate it again in September. What they're really asking you is if you've heard from any little birdies about any changes or a possible early release (since it was rumored). It's been over a year now since imore dished any inside info. I suppose that source has long dried up.

Rene Ritchie says:

On event dates? We've reported on them correctly every year for the last 3 or 4 years. 2013 All Things D posted it a few hours before we did, so we back their report. That's bound to happen sometimes.

Rumors do interest me less than the mechanics of how something will be done (that there will be a bigger iPhone is nowhere nearly as interesting as how Apple will scale the screen and interface, for example.)

cardfan says:

No, just something like your article last Jan (which mentioned ipads if I remember right) talking about upcoming things you've heard about.

TheRewardisCheese says:

"........if you need a new iPhone now, today, get the iPhone 5s. If you don't need a new iPhone, now, today, wait as long as you can and then get whatever the best iPhone is when you do need it. After all, there will always be something better on the horizon."

Definitely great advice Rene. Could not have said it better myself.

dreyfus2 says:

Well, another take (without saying "I'm right" or "I know something"):

As the high end of the smartphone market is saturating rapidly and carriers make it harder to not keep a device for the full 24 months... diversification is an (the ?) obvious way to achieve growth.

So far the existing iPhone is the best selling phone there is. I consider it unlikely that Apple will release a bigger iPhone "6" and drop the smaller form factor. Releasing a second iPhone family (name unknown) to address those wanting a bigger model would make some serious sense. Releasing that at the same time as the updates to the existing line makes little sense, as they would only increase supply constraints and make it much harder to predict sales distribution. A "big" iPhone line that has its own 12-month refresh schedule and is offset by, say, 6 months from the existing one would create supply chain benefits, smoothen out sales peaks and bring real differentiation and diversification (which the 5c at large failed to achieve).

In other words, I do not think the "big" iPhone will be the successor of the iPhone 5s and there is no real reason why it should use the same schedule. The A7 is so far ahead of the competition that they do not need to wait for new silicone either.

Rene Ritchie says:

Apple has been releasing as soon as product has been ready lately (or in the case of the Retina iPad mini and Mac Pro, a tad sooner than would really be comfortable).

I'm not sure that can or will change any time soon?

the_stig#WN says:

A bigger iPhone .... This rumor has been around forever. I'll believe it when I see it.

And if I see it, I may buy it. But I hope they keep the smaller form factor as well. Some people love the one - handed operation. Some have moved on to bigger Android, WP, and BB devices.

Choice is good, and having a choice of the size of the iPhone you can buy will be good for the consumer. I understand why they have stuck with the one size, but Devs will continue to develop. The platform is too big to abandon at this point.

jakeless.123 says:

I think it was macRumors that posted an article from someone claiming a possible may release....I won't hold my breath, but I am crossing my fingers!

Sent from the iMore App

theKHMERboy says:

I agree with this article I don't really need a new iPhone since I have an iPhone 5 for over a year now and still works good for me.. But I think I will be getting the iphone 6 whenever the release date it.. But for me I don't know if I want to get the first batch and be one of the first to own an iPhone 6 or do I wanna wait a couple months after release date like I did with the iPhone 5?.. Still deciding

erikbock says:

I can wait. I have the iPhone 5 and not having any issues with the phone. I do have some iOS 7 issues though.

blondyblondy says:

I'm going to wait until September, even though my 5 is glitching like crazy. Worth waiting for. I am up for an upgrade, so I might as well wait until the end of the summer and get what I want.

Sent from the iMore App

Rene Ritchie says:

Restore it as a new iPhone. No reason to live with glitches!

bkl93 says:

Rene, thanks for all the great insight that you and iMore team offer. I've been hesitant to resell my old devices because of security concerns. Can you share with me/us what are secure options for reselling older iPhones, please? Thanks.

2oh1 says:

If you need a new phone, buy a new iPhone now. If you think it's worth waiting until sometime between June and September in order to get the next model, then wait.

I think it's worth waiting. So, I'm waiting.

niala2222 says:

iOS 7.04 is a broken OS
So I put my iPhone 4 in the closet until iOS 7.1 is released. In the mean time, I use a Nexus 5 with a decent screen size. iPhone 6 with a bigger screen is, sooner than later, going to be the next big thing. Not wasting money on an iPhone 5C or 5S.
Cheers everyone

zdn1042 says:

I'm loving the new additions to iMore this year - #askimore & the Daily Apps Roundup!

asuperstarr says:

Great advice and look forward to more ask iMore!

Sent from the iMore App

Rowanova says:

Haha, I remember when the 5S was released. It was about a week later people, mostly bloggers and Wall Streeters, we're already babbling about the iPhone 6 and all that it would be. Should be. Needs to be and must be. And of course, how quickly it'll have to come to market.

Ridiculously laughable.

Apple will get the next gen iPhone here when they have it ready, just like always. And no sooner, just like always. Released in less than a year since the previous model? Unlikely! Extremely! Unlikely!

Mrdevali says:

I've sold every old iPhone for more than the cost of the upgrade since the "3g" days. I am lucky to have 3 lines and get an upgrade every cycle.

Ipheuria says:

I always skip a model when I buy my iPhones. I upgrade every two years and since I usually buy my iPhones factory unlocked it works for me. This year however was the perfect storm my wife was still on an iPhone 4 and I wanted the 5s and decided to only update on the s iPhone cycle. So my wife got my iPhone 5 and I got the 5s on contract. So the next iPhone I will be getting is the 6s if they stick to that naming convention. It will be cool to see what they bring out this year for the iPhone 6 but I can wait it out.

iEd says:

I think Apple will stick to the Fall iPhone release so they can roll right into Christmas. But if like expected it's a total redesigned iPhone, a summer release could still make it a big Christmas seller.
For me personally I've been doing early upgrades for the past 4 years. I'll have to stick with my 5S until the "6S"
But I'm still anxious to see the 6.

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