An iPhone update is right around the corner, but we’re not talking about the iPhone 12. Instead, rumors indicate that Apple could launch a low-cost iPhone 9 or iPhone SE 2 as soon as next month. But should you wait for it or buy an iPhone now?
What to expect from the iPhone 9
If you haven’t been following the iPhone 9 rumor mill, it’s shaping up to be an unexciting iPhone release, but also one that’s incredibly important for Apple’s business. The iPhone 9 is expected to feature a 4.7-inch display with a design nearly identical to the iPhone 8 with a Home button and Touch ID rather than Face ID.
It’s also expected to be powered by Apple’s latest A13 processor, which guarantees iOS updates for many years down the line. In terms of pricing, a pair of reports have suggested a $399 starting price. Keep up with everything we know about the iPhone 9 in our full roundup of features, pricing, and more right here.
If you’re buying an iPhone 11…
There’s little reason to wait to see what the iPhone 9 has in store. The iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro are the flagship iPhones sold by Apple, so you’re unlikely to be tempted by the low-cost alternative that doesn’t feature the latest and greatest design and features.
If you’re shopping for the iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro, it’s better to buy sooner rather than later. The longer you wait, the sooner the iPhone 12 release becomes, but right now, the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro are the best of the best.
If you’re buying an iPhone 8…
Even though they’re a few years old at this point, Apple still sells the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. The iPhone 8 starts at $449 and the iPhone 8 Plus starts at $549.
As we explained, the iPhone 9 will essentially be a direct followup to the iPhone 8. The design is expected to be virtually identical, with both offering a 4.7-inch display and a Home button. So if you’re shopping for an iPhone 8, you should probably wait until Apple announces the iPhone 9, which rumors suggest will happen next month.
Given the $449 starting price of the iPhone 8, it’s incredibly hard to recommend right now. The iPhone 9 is rumored to cost just $399 for the same 64GB of storage, and it’ll include a far more powerful A13 processor. Even if you don’t necessarily care about your iPhone’s processor, it’s always better to future proof yourself for the sake of iOS security updates.
It’s unlikely that Apple continues selling the iPhone 8 Plus after the introduction of the iPhone 9, even though that would mean the end of the 5.5-inch iPhone form factor. If you’re thinking about buying the iPhone 8 Plus because of the larger screen, you’re probably better off spending the extra $50 to get the iPhone XR for $599.
The iPhone 9 might not be the most popular iPhone among 9to5Mac readers, but it’s important to remember that there is still a huge user base of people with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s. The iPhone 9 is designed to entice those users to upgrade to something more powerful and future proof.
With its new focus on Services, such as Apple Arcade and Apple TV+, Apple has a major incentive to keep as many iPhone users on the latest version of iOS as possible. The iPhone 9 will do just that thanks to its A13 processor and $399 starting price.
Ultimately, nobody should be paying for retail price for the iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus right now. People who want the iPhone 8 form factor should absolutely wait for the iPhone 9 to be introduced next month, while those who want the iPhone 8 Plus are likely better served by the iPhone XR.