Why I'm not Buying a new iPhone

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

2020, like everything else, has changed my perspective on how to decide whether to get a new phone. Some of the reasons I switch to a new iPhone are: a) Camera, b) Software, c) Design, d) Speed, e) Length of ownership. I compare the state of my current phone, with the new phones, to decide whether to buy that year’s iPhone to replace my current iPhone.

Once I buy a new phone, I use it for years, and thus always buy the top-of-the-line phone from that series. 8 years ago, that meant it was the iPhone 5 (64GB). When the time came to replace it 4 years ago, that translated into an iPhone 7 Plus (256GB). Plus because of its better camera (first iPhone with a telephoto lens).

Every iPhone released thereafter (8, X, XR, XS, 11, 11 Pro, 12) have ticked off atleast one of the boxes on my list, but none checked off all the boxes. For instance, the 11 Pro checked off everything except design (the 11 line-up had a dated design).

Until the iPhone 12 Pro. [I thought] I was due for a new phone, and the iPhone 12 Pro intro was like a checklist down my wishlist. And yet, the pandemic is the black swan which has changed my plans.

I have no complains with my current phone. It works well, is fast, and has been stable (battery life notwithstanding). I love the design because of the color (hey Jet Black!). It supports iOS 14 and from the software-perspective the only thing I miss from the X-class phones is Face ID (which is not really a bane in these mask-totting days), and ProRAW. It all comes down to one single criteria: Camera. And the 12 Pro appears to have that comparison in the bag.

As I contemplated which of the new phones I should order, I started wondering if I should order one at all. Most of the photos I click are when I’m traveling. In the middle of a pandemic that has meant I’m not traveling nearly as much, what am I even going to take photos of? Yes, it will not be the same forever, but won’t there be a new iPhone next year when I probably will be closer to resuming more travel? So why buy a new iPhone now, to replace my very-capable 7 Plus?