Apple's annual iPhone season is quickly approaching, leaving users who are in the market for a new iPhone stuck with the decision of picking up a soon-to-be-outdated iPhone 12 or holding out for the "iPhone 13." Here's what you should know about the upcoming device and whether to wait.
What the rumors are saying
We have to start with the "iPhone 13"-shaped elephant in the room.
We hear it all the time. As a source for Apple rumors and news, our friends, family, and strangers on the internet ask, without fail, whether or not they should buy the current iPhone, or wait for the next one. It happens like clockwork every August and early September.
This year is no different.
Usually, when we hear this question, it is followed by questions of what the next-generation device is going to be like. The questions basically go hand-in-hand. "Should I get an iPhone 12 now or wait until the iPhone 13? What will the iPhone 13 be like?"
So let's quickly touch on a few of the most compelling and likely "iPhone 13" rumors. You can read more in-depth about the current "iPhone 13" rumors on our dedicated roundup page.
Currently, we expect the presumed "iPhone 13" to come in the same sizes as iPhone 12, sporting a new faster A15 processor, an always-on display, a 120Hz ProMotion display, better cameras on the "pro" models, and a smaller notch.
If none of those features feel compelling to you, there is less "risk" buying a year-old iPhone 12.
How do you plan to use your phone?
Also worth taking into consideration is what you plan to do with your phone when you're finished with it.
Keep a year and sell? Upgrade every 2? Hold on to it for a while then sell while still worth something? Pass it down?
If you are "renting" it on an upgrade plan, this is likely a moot point. You're guaranteed a new phone, so you may as well upgrade when it is available to you. There's no reason not to.
For users who plan to use the phone for a few years but still want to sell it while it is worth something substantial, we recommend holding off for the "iPhone 13". With iPhone 12 already a year old, it has depreciated even before you've bought it. You can get an extra year of use and upgrades by going for the newest phone, especially with the release just around the corner.
Some users hand their phone down to a kid or a parent who doesn't need the newest device. In this scenario, it also makes more sense to go for the "iPhone 13" rather than the existing iPhone 12. When passed down, you want the phone to last as long as possible. Going with the newest from the beginning will give you and its secondary owner more time with it.
It may be tempting to upgrade now rather than waiting, but those long-term uses are worth remembering.
Weigh the advantages versus the disadvantages
Bringing everything together, there are legitimate reasons to buy an iPhone 12 now, as well as reasons to hold off for a few more weeks.
One of the biggest reasons to nab an iPhone 12 now is that the new features may not be compelling to everybody and picking up the phone now can result in serious savings.
When the "iPhone 13" hits the shelves, the new device won't be discounted. But the usurped iPhone 12 will see even higher discounts than what are available now as retailers clear out stock.
If you don't mind losing out on the "iPhone 13" features and want to save money, wait for the time being. But post-"iPhone 13" launch, by all means, pick up an iPhone 12.
But if those features sound interesting, or you want to get the longest lifespan possible from your phone, wait! The "iPhone 13" is just about here.