Should you get a white iPhone 4 or wait for iPhone 5?

Should you get a white iPhone 4 or wait for iPhone 5?

Apple has just announced the white iPhone 4 and it goes on sale tomorrow -- but should you get one now or wait and get an iPhone 5 this fall?

The white iPhone 4 was originally announced alongside the black one back at WWDC 2010 last June but for a variety of production related reasons, has taken 10 long months for Apple to ship. That means, when it finally arrives tomorrow, it will essentially be the same device that's been on sale in black form for almost a year. Now don't get me wrong, the fact that iPhone 4 is still a top of the line phone this long after its launch is a testament to the quality of Apple's hardware and the frequency of their software updates. Still, it's not a new iPhone, it's just a new color.

The iPhone 5 was expected to launch in June, just a couple of months from now, because for the last 4 years that's exactly when new iPhones have launched. This year, however, everything we've heard, and everything a lot of respected sites have heard, pegs the release date as fall 2011 -- September or October. That's 3 or 4 months later than usual and 5-6 months from now. And until Apple introduces it, likely at their annual iTunes and iPod event, we have no idea how big an update it will be. It could be an iPhone 3GS style incremental update, with the same case but a new A5 processor and maybe an improved camera, or it could be the total redesign I've been hoping for and others keep teasing. There's just no way to know.

So we go back to our usual advice on these things -- if you absolute have to buy a new iPhone tomorrow or in the next couple of months, and white is the color you want or have been waiting for, then get it. Get it and be proud. It's a great device that will easily carry you another year or two, especially with iOS 5 this year, and future updates to come.

If you can wait, however, if you don't need a new iPhone but just want one, if it's a nice to have but not a must have, then wait. Wait until iPhone 5 if you can. Wait until you can't wait any more. Then buy and be happy with what you bought!

(Check out our iPhone buyers guide for more, including help with deciding between AT&T and Verizon, and the different storage sizes.)

Anyone trying to make up their minds? Let us know which way you're leaning!

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Georgia

Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector, Review, and Isometric podcasts, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Dow.

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Should you get a white iPhone 4 or wait for iPhone 5?

62 Comments

As a 3G owner, I couldn't have said it any better. "Wait until iPhone 5 if you can. Wait until you can’t wait any more. Then buy and be happy with what you bought!".

The iPhone 4 was a large enough leap for you 3G owners to take, but you didn't. I guess if you waited that long what's a few months? I've been enjoying mine since day 1 and never regretted it. Can't wait for the 5

What if we couldn't take the leap until halfway the (assumed) product cycle? Lots of people were buying 3G's right up until the 3GS launched.
By the time I could upgrade, I was willing to wait till June for the next model, so I wasn't stuck with an iPhone 4 in a couple of years that was no longer supported by new software. I'm still willing to wait till fall, if that's what happens, but I and many others in my situation won't be happy if Apple goes back to June releases in 2012, especially if it's a much larger upgrade.

iPhone 5 will more and likely arriving this fall. Just wait. Is it worth it to burn a upgrade or pay retail for a phone that is the same but just white? Most people cover them up with cases anyways. I prefer black anyways. I hate the white faceplate.

i am weird about things like this but being male also adds to it greatly i am sure. i can not fathom anyone with an iphone 5 in black wanting an iphone 4 in a different color just cause someone painted the face of it ( over exhaggeration ) maybe if you are upping from a 3 - 36 etc but paaaalease.

I'm getting the iPhone 5 which by the way is coming out in June 2011. I hate rumors. I'm the type of person that likes to hear it from the bulls mouth not the ass...

I was originally holding out for the White to upgrade from my 3GS, however now seems to be too little too late for me. So I shall wait a few more months and opt for iPhone 5.

This is the same issue I was presented with in February. As a Verizon user, with a Pre plus that seemed to overheat and fry the radios on a quarterly basis, I had to ask myself "do you really want to put up with that until July? or potentially longer if they stagger AT&T and Verizon releases?"
Ultimately, my answer was a resounding NO, and I was pre-ordering at 2:50 AM Eastern on 2/3.
And I love my iPhone. Will the next iPhone be an improvement? Yup. No doubt. But my iPhone 4 impresses me each and every day, and is a pleasure to use. So no iPhone 5 for me...
Besides, then there will be the iPhone 6, and that will be even better than the 5...And I'll be upgrade eligible.
;)

Unfortunately, the problem to decide is compounded by a commitment to a wireless carrier. We all know that the real-world retail cost of an iPhone 4 is probably less than that of an iPad 2, but since wireless carriers want contracts, the price is unjustifiably inflated by $300. If Apple would only side with the customer on this one, they would have been selling world iPhones straight out of their stores, to which we could choose our carriers and plans (and even opt out of those stupid mandatory data plans).

Actually, unlocked iPhone 16GB is $600, and unlocked iPhone 32GB is $700. This has been the price for all iPhones, until they get obsoleted by a new iPhone, of course.

Actually, unlocked iPhone 16GB is $600, and unlocked iPhone 32GB is $700. This has been the price for all iPhones, at least until they get obsoleted by a newer iPhone, of course.

I upgraded last year from a iPhone 3G to a iPhone 3GS. Never had any regrets. Now I'm almost up for a new phone, but I'll hold on to my 3GS until the iPhone5 is released.

iPhone 5 will be thinner, more powerful, and boasting all of these great things that make the previous version look utterly inferior. That's the trend.
With that said, why get an iPhone 4 months before 5 comes out? +1 w/ everyone else...wait. Apple blew it w/ the white iPhone and it is a little too late.

Since I will be switching to Verizon when I buy my 1st iPhone, I want to be sure I will get the unlimited data plan. I don't know if Verizon will still be offering unlimited data when the iPhone 5 comes out.

Verizon has a 5GB data plan which is MORE THAN enough and if your in wifi zone data usage is turned off

I'm sorry, but at the risk of sounding obnoxious, why buy a white iphone 4 when the next iteration will be out soon(ish)?? It's a bit immature imho. And if you're anything like me, you'll cover most of that lovely whiteness up with a case anyway...

If you're one of the people on Verizon who have been holding off on buying an iPhone 4 (upgrade date was way back in Feb) based on the assumption and rumors that Apple was planning to stick to its yearly iPhone release schedule (June-July time frame); and now you know that it may not be released until 5-6 months later, it might make sense to make the jump now instead of holding off for another 5-6 months longer (which would bring the total up to about 9 months give or take).

Absolutely agree if you're with Verizon, haven't jumped on iphone 4 yet, and fancy a white one!! Six+ months is a long time to wait, and the iphone 4 is excellent.

Maybe the wrong forum for this, but by that mentality (a newer phone will be out in 5 months) - Android phones would never sell.

I had the iPhone 2g, 3G and 3GS. I skipped iPhone 4 cause of contract with AT&T but I am eligible for an upgrade since January. I won't make the same mistake again and will wait for my iPhone 5 as long as it takes.

I will be getting the white IP4 on Verizon for the following reasons - 1. Im a girl & isnt color a girl issue ? 2. I have 3 of the lines on my account due for an upgrade this year so IF the IP5 comes out later in the year, I will just pass the white IP4 down to my kids & get the IP5. Works out perfect - FOR ME.

I wanted the white model from the beginning. I have a white 3Gs now, which is badly cracking in the case, the silent mode button has failed and the sleep button is starting to.
the "4s" will just be a spec bump and you'll wait till September for that. The REAL upgrade of iPhone 5 won't happen until at least June of 2012, and perhaps September if they make that the new regular upgrade time.
By getting the White 4 now, I start my upgrade clock NOW so that I'm eligible when the 5 comes out (I'm only just now able to upgrade for the low price since I got my 3Gs in Dec 09)
So that's why I'm upgrading. And I hate cases so I'll get to look at the white, which is so much better looking than the black...

Unless you do not have an iPhone, and your contract is up, I would wait for the iPhone 5. With so many rumors, and now people saying iOS 4.3.xx causing problems. Some have reverted back to 4.1. Apple should have it all corrected by iPhone 5. It does not matter when it comes out, I bet they are waiting for the cloud service, and all the bells plus suped up hardware, and software. I still think they will put out the hardware iPhone 5 in June, and have the cloud running in sept with a software update. Having an iPhone 5 launch in sept the same time as an iPod Touch 5 would take away sales of the touch. Apple likes to keep things separate. No I have no proof, but release dates with Apple are etched in stone. If they change that, will it change all their product dates?

Black or white, it is still iPhone 4. Same model, same hardware. Just colour difference. Let me wait for the new upgrade.

What if they come out with a black and white iPhone 5, then apple releasing the white iPhone 4 is kind of pointless .. well probably the iPhone 5 will have the chrome

The only reason worth holding out for an iPhone at this point would be an upgrade to 4G speeds which won't be available until iPhone 6. If this is your first iPhone, the changes expected from 4 to 5 aren't compelling enough to wait 4-5 more months. Why wait for the same thing that is slightly faster with incrementally better camera? But if you have a 3G or 3GS I can see how it might be worth the wait. Either way, the sooner you get the iPhone 4 the sooner you are eligible to upgrade to a 4G capable iPhone 6!

I have a secon line available for upgrade. I have the iPhone 4 on my primary line so I've got all the time in the world. I can wait until December, or even next year. I will still get the white iPhone 5....whenever.

In many ways Apple has been consistent, but I think they may actually change things up a bit in terms of new launches, and therefore I don't necessarily believe that their release dates are set in stone. Note, iPhone and Ipod touches are just a couple of their products. They have plenty of other product upgrades that they can launch in the summer in lieu of the iphone 5. Furthermore, with rumors looming over a new macbook upgrade and even development of an Apple television, they don't have anything to worry about in terms of one product taking away the sales of another...they'll have good rotations to play with either way.
That said, I also have a 3GS which has been wonderful to me; but after over 1.5 years it also has begun to fall apart. It still predominantly functions well, but all buttons have fallen off, forcing me to turn power on and off with a hair clip or pin and I also have no option of adjusting volume from the side. The fact that I am just now eligible for an upgrade, makes the launch of the white iphone 4 great timing. Nevertheless, my only grapple is that whether the white one came out or not, I would have purchased a new phone this week anyway. Hence, the conundrum--as a female, do I go for the more feminine, aesthetic white or stick with the sleek and classic black?

I like how you just imagined a ton of new Apple announcements that are nowhere near happening. MacBooks just got refreshed 2 months ago, Apple isn't making a television, and iPhone is by far their biggest moneymaker. It is the product that keeps the lights on (well, there's that stack of $40 billion sitting around too).

First and foremost, unless you utterly HAVE to have a white iPhone 4, it would be completely idiotic to get one. It's the same as the black one in every way. Also, personally, I think the white is a feminine color for the iPhone anyway.
Secondly, as far as launch date is concerned, we heard various rumors regarding the delay of iPad2 and what not. Let us take a moment to remember how that one turned out.....
They launched it a month before the 1 year mark. Apple is fully aware that there product is getting long in the tooth. They know that other companies are trying their best to release these phones with better and more ridiculous specs faster so they can capture more and more market share. If Apple were to wait, they'd lose a piece of that marketshare that they would never get back. I don't think apple is that stupid. I BELIEVE that apple will launch some iteration of iPhone in June. Whether it will be an iPhone 4S, 5 or 4G remains to be seen. From what understand, Apple regularly has 3-5 different prototypes for testing any of which they can pick from at any moment. I'm sure with their manufacturing ties, that they've developed over the years, they can start ordering parts and having production done within weeks. I could be completely wrong, but I doubt it...

What many of you forget is that for the average Joe consumer, the i4 is still the top of it's class (in New Zealand anyway), and try don't know that i5 rumors are around the corner. So I don't think apple left it too late and I believe the white will sell well and give a boost to their i4 sales. Would I get the white i4 right now? Heck no and neither would any tech blog reader or gadget enthusiast. We however do not make up the majority of iPhone sales.
It is also a testament to how great the i4 is that it can sell next to brand new phones a year later and still have nothing to be ashamed of. Love mine!

as a noniphone owner that's been waiting for a new iphone and to get out of it's contract soon there is ZERO chance i'd get a white iphone 4.
I don't want a year old phone now. And i don't own an iphone.
iphone 4 doesn't appease me. doesn't even interest me. plus i don't want a white phone.

I love the iPhone 4. I really do. However, I would wait. You get the latest Apple greatness in a few months. However! If you don't care about being "ahead of the curve" or an "early adopter" get the iPhone 4. It's by far the best entry level iPhone. Honestly, this is what should've came out in '07! ;-)

No, Apple Care is only for defective products. If you have a defective iPhone, I'd imagine you could request a white replacemnt.
They may have some type of incentive for people that purchased a black one because they were waiting too long for a white one.
The true answer to your question is "we'll see"

Two years ago I took my defective black iPhone 3G into an Apple store to get a replacement. I asked for a white one instead, and they told me the have to give you a replacement that is the exact same model.

Having a business account with two upgrades on it means I'm getting the white iPhone tomorrow and the iPhone 5 whenever it is actually released. My converted white iPhone is junk. That was a horrible decision on my part.

I have been going over this all day. My final decision was to wait two weeks and then get the iphone 4. Why you ask? First off I am a 1.5 year 3GS owner who is up for upgrade and whose iphone is starting to fall apart. Second by waiting two weeks before upgrading it allows for the completion of WWDC (june 6-9) before my 30 return period is up. So if the iphone 5 comes in june I will return my 4 and get the 5. But if it is delayed as has been rumored i will keep my 4 and have started my 2 year count down 1 month earlier. Just my thoughts.

hey apple said they are going to lunch an ipod 4gs do u think it is going to be a huge update ??

Just got the iPhone 4 (white) because I thought it was cool and different. I know I probably should've waited for 5, but I was about to throw my BB storm out a window! I LOVE my new iPhone! It is my first...did I say I LOVE it? When my next upgrade is available I will just get the iphone 6 or 7 or XX, whatever is available. :)

cut the lights on cut the cut the lights on all this ice aint no need to cut the lights on...........ITS GUCCI TIME!!!!!!!

omg... i REALLY REALLY want an iphone and finally im allowed to buy one but im worried the new iphone 5 will be soo much better... I dont mind if the iphone 5 is just faster and has a better camera because these arent major functions on the iphone 4. I can live without those upgrades but if the iphone 5 is cheaper than the iphone 4 then i might as well wait. I wish apple would officially tell the world the release date for iphone 5 in australia... the question is "IS THE IPHONE 5 GOING TO HAVE ANY MAJOR CHANGES THEN THE I PHONE?" I hope it doesnt so i wont feel too bad when i give in and just buy the i phone 4... I want a black i phone but the white does look very nice.. so many decisions...

Wait for the iPhone 5. Even on Verizon's superior network, the iPhone 4's antennae issue prevents many messages and calls from going through. Trust me, some people may have been lucky and had no problems with the iPhone 4 on either network, but after 6 iPhone replacements, I think my trial can be concluded to say that waiting for the iPhone 5 would be the smartest choice.

I heard its only shipping in 32 and 64 gb , so PROBABLY gonna be selling 300$ and 400$ , it won't be much different than the iphone 4, better in same ways but its just another way to make their money. I did happen to see pictures of the Iphone 5 and it does look sexy

i am feeling the same as you!!!!!!!! i decided to just get the iPhone 4 becuz i'm almost positive that the iPhone 5 will be A LOT more expensive and the wait for it might take FOREVER so i'm just going to go on and get the white iPhone 4 and i also LOVE the color on this much better than the black

im hela confused too because ive been wanting an iphone 4 since the first day it came out and i havent gotten one yet and now that ima get it, theres an iphone 5 coming out?! i really dont like the way the iphone 5 looks tho cause ive seen pics idk if they are real or not, bt what if the iphone 5 has a lot more features and is way better than the iphone 4? and what if i get the iphone 4 and then when the iphone 5 comes out, i regret not waiting. but i think ima just wait and check out the iphone 5 and see how it works and if i dont like it or im not really into it then ima just stick with the iphone 4. :)

apparetly the iphone 5 is supposed to have same stuff but a keypad that slides... and with a different modle so obveusly its thicker. My advice take the iphone 4 in white because the iphone 5 is practickly the same but its SHIT because it has a keyboard!

WAIT FOR IT! if u buy it right now youll pay like 600 bucks or however much it costs. if u wait for 5gen to come out, itll be like 200. DOANT DOO EET!