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Right Now Is a Terrible Time to Buy an iPhone

If you can wait until February, the iPhone 7 could cost as little as $300.
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Buy iPhone 8

If you're in the market for a new iPhone, you may want to wait awhile.

Apple's 10th anniversary iPhone, widely referred to as the iPhone 8, is expected to be released soon. Rumors suggest it'll boast an all-new design. And if history is any indication, we'll definitely see discounts on the iPhone 7 once the iPhone 8 makes its debut.

So when should you pounce on that new handset? Read on for our full analysis.

Why You Should Wait

DealNews keeps exhaustive records of iPhone price trends dating back to 2011. Our data shows that older iPhones are generally discounted in the fall, after the latest-generation model is announced. So, if you're still toting around an iPhone 6s or later, you should definitely wait to upgrade.

If you're looking for maximum savings, you should push your iPhone purchase back until February.

However, if you're looking for maximum savings, you should push your iPhone purchase back until February. Regional carriers like Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile, as well as sites like eBay, Sears, Walmart, and Target generally have the best iPhone sales — so check there when you're ready to buy.

Prices Will Drop This Fall

Let's examine iPhone price fluctuations over the past few years to get a better idea of the kind of discounts we might see on the iPhone 7 and other Apple handsets this fall. Keep in mind that the prices below are for base, unlocked models.

  • The iPhone 4s launched on October 14, 2011 at $649. By the following June, Virgin Mobile was already selling it for $100 off. The phone didn't see any other major discounts until October 2012, a year after it first hit store shelves, when it fell to $400 at Target a month after the iPhone 5 made its debut.

  • It was a similar story for the iPhone 5, which went on sale September 21, 2012 at $649. It hit $550 at Virgin Mobile the June after its debut, and dropped to $405 in October 2013 — not long after its successor, the iPhone 5s, was announced. By the end of 2013, it was selling for less than $400.

  • The iPhone 5s hit shelves on September 20, 2013 for $649. It started seeing discounts early the following year, dipping as low as $385 that March at Virgin Mobile. After the iPhone 6 was announced in the fall of 2014, the iPhone 5s could be found for $500 on eBay. A year later, the iPhone 6s launched and the two-year-old iPhone 5s dropped to $299 at Walmart.

  • The iPhone 6 was released on September 19, 2014 at $649. Before the end of that year, it could be found for $640 on eBay. It didn't dip below $600 until September 2015, when the handset reached $500 on eBay the same month its successor, the iPhone 6s, was announced. By February 2016, it had dropped to $380 at Boost Mobile. It then reached $300 that September at Best Buy, around the time the iPhone 7 made its debut.

  • The iPhone 6s was went on sale September 25, 2015 for $649 and saw a pretty sweet discount right away. Boost Mobile customers were able to snag the handset for $450 when it was brand new. In December 2016, a little over a year after its debut and shortly after the iPhone 7 came out, the iPhone 6s dropped to $399 at Walmart. This past February, you could get it for $350 at Boost Mobile.

  • That brings us to the iPhone 7 (Apple's current flagship), which was released on September 16, 2016 with a starting price tag of $649. By January of this year — just three months after its launch — you could find it on eBay for $630. Looking ahead, we may see the price of the iPhone 7 drop to $500, or even as low as $400, before the end of 2017 — possibly as early as October. If you can wait until February, however, you may be able to find the iPhone 7 for as little as $300.

SEE ALSO: Apple's New HomePod Costs $349 (and Other Essential Things to Know)

Now we turn our attention to Apple's 2017 iPhone lineup. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, so excitement is high and rumors about a major upgrade have been swirling for months.

An iPhone Like No Other

Analysts and leakers say Apple is planning to roll out three new iPhones this fall: the 5.8" iPhone 8 with an OLED screen, and two LCD models measuring 4.7" and 5.5". Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, corroborating earlier rumors, recently predicted that "the launch date of the OLED version may trail that of LCD models," according to StreetInsider.

This backs up similar rumors saying the iPhone 8 may not go on sale until October. That would be a pretty big departure from recent years, considering Apple has launched a flagship smartphone every September since 2012. Not since 2011's iPhone 4s has Apple launched a handset that late in the year. (Other rumor sites say Apple may launch the phone in September.)

Rumor has it that the iPhone 8 will be 'insanely expensive.' Some say it'll start at more than $1,000.

Meanwhile, you might want to start saving your money now if you plan to buy the iPhone 8. Rumor has it that the handset will be "insanely expensive." Some say it'll start at more than $1,000 — again, a huge departure from the norm.

On the plus side, if you're willing to sign a long-term contract, you might be able to snag a deal. Analysts with Nomura-Instinet say carriers like Verizon and T-Mobile will surely offer "assertive promotions," either discounting the phone itself or offering attractive payment plans, according to Business Insider.

Whether you're an early adopter or just need a new phone, you should wait until at least this fall to buy any new iPhone. And remember: If you can delay your purchase until early 2018, you might be able to snag an even better deal.

Readers, what do you think? Are you excited for the latest iPhone, or do you worry it'll be too expensive? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


Contributing Writer

Angela is a DealNews contributor focused on consumer technology. You can also find her byline at PCMag.com. Follow her on Twitter at @amoscaritolo.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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8 comments
BlueOak
"Right Now Is a Terrible Time to Buy an iPhone"

One hopes you didn't hurt yourself coming up with this story topic and headline.

#SoSelfEvidentItHurts
bodycrab
Way too expensive!
MarkJohn
This year, there are a lot of motivations to hold up. The iPhone 6s, while a decent telephone, neglected to address a portion of the greatest objections we have about our cell phones most eminently battery life. Meanwhile, Samsung discharged the Galaxy S7, the best telephone equipment you can purchase at this moment. It has the camera to beat and can survive a dunk in the pool.

Techagentmedia
MrMyster
Worth noting that through the end of August, Virgin Mobile is giving a full year of unlimited talk, text & data for $1 with the purchase of a new iphone (it's $50/month after that). So you're saving at least $600 over the next 12 months on service which you can deduct from the phone price which brings the effective price of a new iphone 7 to $149 before tax. Coverage is Sprint network and not as good as Verizon, but it's much less than the $100/mo I pay for Verizon as well.
Chin Kong
Integration and quality software.

Otherwise, the platform isn't lovable, and I've tried them most (Meego, WindowsPhone, Android).

Hopefully Apple will get upgrades the others have had for years (screen tech, better cameras, Xenon flash, tap-to-wake, Qi charging and so on)
mrbib
Yawn. Every August, DealNews runs an article saying "now is a bad time to buy an iPhone." Right. Because Apple typically announces the new models later in the fall.
from50613
After ten months of owning an iPhone, I kind of think anytime is the wrong time to buy an iPhone. I know the iPhone is a good phone, I just don't like it (personal opinion). I own Mac-Mini and Apple TV, the integration is not really that much better than when I was on an old Samsung.

This fall, I am going to sell my iPhone and purchase a Pixel 2.
nimer
Latest iPhone almost always get a $100 discount around Black Friday from Best Buy with a new contract on the big 3, that's one more reason to hang in there.
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