Just because Apple has released the new iPhone 5 doesn't mean you have to race off and get it. Crazy, I know, particularly coming from the biggest iPhone enthusiast site on the web, but that just goes to show you how true it is. When the time comes for you to get your next phone, whether it's today or next year, and iPhone or something else, you should look at what's on the market and decide what best suits your needs.
If you're currently using an older iPhone, especially an original iPhone or iPhone 3G your contract has likely long since expired, you device has long since fallen out of OS updates, and you can and should get a new iPhone at the discounted price. Pricing starts at zero (0) dollars for the iPhone 4 on most carriers. Do it.
If you bought an original iPhone 3GS, the same advice applies. Even though the iPhone 3GS can run iOS 6, it can't run it well. If you bought an iPhone 3GS in the last year, you may or may not qualify for full upgrade pricing, but it's worth checking just in case. The difference even between an iPhone 3GS and an iPhone 4, much less iPhone 5, are stratospheric.
For iPhone 4 owners, the same advice applies. If you can get full upgrade pricing, a $100 iPhone 4S is a nice upgrade and a $200+ iPhone 5 is a fantastic upgrade.
A new iPhone will run all the same apps and play all the same content as your old iPhone, only far, far, far better.
Upgrading from an iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, or iPhone 4 is almost a no brainer.
If you're using an iPhone 4S, the upgrade question is much less clear. You're probably still on contract with your carrier, and these days they're not always rushing to give you an early upgrade or full discount. (Pro tip: Call straight into the retention department, don't bother with regular customer service, and make them understand your paying the every month for the next few years depends on them helping you get a new phone today.) And that's once you decide it's even worth it. Here's what you'd get with the iPhone 5:
In other words, the iPhone 5 is not a compelling upgrade for iPhone 4S users unless it fixes a specific problem like LTE or screen size.
If your current phone of choice runs Android, Windows Phone, or is a BlackBerry, here's where it gets tricky. If you're not on contract, it's easier. If you are, you need to weigh the pros and cons and see if the features you get outweigh the penalties you'll have to pay.
But iPhone has a lot going for it as well.
It's also important to realize that a lot of phones can change a lot over the course of a year. New devices will just keep arriving, so make sure you check for the latest
If there's some limitation when it comes to the iPhone that you can't live with, or if you just don't like Apple, don't get an iPhone. For example, if you like to tinker and want your phone, your way, don't get an iPhone.
Otherwise, get an iPhone. For most people it remains the best first smartphone on the planet.
Pretty soon all phones will be smart phones. It's inexorable. There are only two real questions. One is when you become part of the transition -- now when you choose to, or later when you absolutely have to. Two is what phone you'll transition too. Data charges on a smartphone will mean significantly higher monthly bills, though enable you to do far more than you could on a flip or candybar phone.
Given that it's inevitable, once you decide to take the smartphone plunge, the iPhone is a great place to start. It can be as simple as a feature phone if that's what you want, or as powerful as a true pocket computer,
Either way, it's a great choice.