iPhone Update

Do not buy an iPhone 15.

But you might want to buy an iPhone 15 Pro or Pro Max.

The war is over. Apple won. It vanquished Android.

HUH? That can’t be right, wasn’t Android supposed to kill the iPhone, wasn’t it only a matter of years before the overpriced Apple product was marginalized, a niche, only for the elite? Yes, that’s what you’d think, but it turned out all the prognosticators, all the bloviators, were wrong.

It’s in the data.

Five years ago, the iPhone had 18% of the U.S. market. Today it has 55%. There are two reasons, iMessage and longevity of functionality/resale value.

You don’t want to be the owner of a green bubble. Oh, oldsters may not care, but if you’re a youngster it’s a cultural faux pas that will immediately have you losing status at the high school. You must have a blue bubble, your life depends upon it.

And then there’s the resale value. iPhones hold it, Androids do not. An iPhone typically has three owners, an Android leaves the store and loses a ton of value and goes down to near zero nearly overnight. Apple supports old iPhones, good look with your couple of year old Android.

And it’s not only the U.S. In South Korea, 52% of those 18-29 use an iPhone.

We don’t need to debate functionality, we don’t need to talk about the Apple haters. It’s an incredible story, unforeseen. A premium-priced product dominates, Apple is about to eclipse the sales of the number one Android provider, Samsung.

So which one should you buy?

Well, you don’t want the iPhone 15 because it’s essentially the iPhone 14 Pro. It has last year’s chip, the A16 Bionic, and it only has two camera lenses instead of three. If you’re worried about status, this is important (but in truth, phones are fungible and nearly indistinguishable when it comes to cosmetics today).

No, you want an iPhone 15 Pro. It’s got the new chip, the A17 Bionic, and better cameras and a titanium case, which you don’t care about in theory, but in truth it means the phone is lighter, and that’s important, the iPhone has gotten far too heavy in its recent iterations.

But Bob, I can save $200 by buying the iPhone 15 instead of the 15 Pro, money means something to me!

But that is shortsighted.

First and foremost, it’s not really $200, it’s $100, because the cheapest iPhone 15 has 128GB of storage and the Pro has 256GB, and with everybody shooting so many photos, you don’t want to run out of space.

But the truth is these phones have a lifespan, and by buying last year’s model, which the iPhone 15 essentially is, you’re losing a year of functionality, you’re going to have to replace it a year earlier, so why not lay out the extra money to live large now, knowing that it will be a wash when it comes to trade-in time?

As for whether you should get a new iPhone…

If you have an 8 or a X, definitely. iOS17 will not work on these devices. Apple says it will continue to support them with security updates, which is crucial, but that won’t be forever, and then you’ll need a new phone in a year or two, which might be even more expensive, why not live large now, why not live in the present now? Sans iOS17 you’re going to lose functionality. You think your phone is good enough, but then you’ll want to do something and you won’t be able to, because of compatibility issues. You do not live in a vacuum, in the pre-internet era, we are all connected, and you want to be able to connect fully. Upgrade.

Do you need an iPhone 15 Pro if you have a 14 or 13? No, unless you want one. Used to be you got a new iPhone and were wowed by the speed, the new chip made a huge difference. Those days are gone, the improvements are incremental. Stay with what you’ve got, wait another year or two.

But what if your old iPhone is running out of juice too fast?

These batteries start to fade. Within a year even. If your iPhone is fine, but there’s an issue with battery life, just buy a new battery and it will be like new, you can get out the door for under a hundred bucks, either at the Apple Store or at a third-party provider. Your phone won’t run any faster, but it will continue to run.

So which Pro model should you buy?

First and foremost, the Pro Max has a longer battery life, and that might be significant to you.

However, the Pro Max is much larger, it doesn’t fit in your hand as easily. I like the larger phone, I love the extra screen real estate. But if it’s uncomfortable in your hand, you might want to go for the smaller option. Don’t make the decision to go small on a whim, go to the Apple Store and hold both devices, you’ll know.

Now it used to be the Pro and Pro Max iterations had different cameras. But then they had the same cameras, but now they have different cameras again. The Pro Max has a better telephoto… If you’re a casual shooter, ultimately it’s not that important, nice, but not necessary. Bottom line, if you need a Pro Max for the camera you already know. As for the photos themselves, for the last few years the Pro versions of the iPhone have created spectacular images. Throw away your point and shoot, the iPhone takes a much better picture.

Also, keep in mind the modern phones squeeze more pixels, more screen real estate, into the glass, borders are smaller. So a small phone, the iPhone 15 Pro, might be enough, but if you’re spending that much, why not go for the best?

Buy a bumper, a case. And I’m going to be a heretic and say buy an Apple case. They’re much more expensive, but far superior. Every year I get the silicone case for fifty bucks and not once have I ever damaged my phone, not once! And believe me, I’ve dropped it on pavement… Lay down, your phone won’t break. As for screen protectors, what a joke. The glass is incredibly sturdy, adding a screen protector just decreases functionality.

As for where you should buy your new iPhone…

If you are switching carriers, you’re in luck, the offers are stupendous the market is saturated and it’s hard for the three major providers, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, to get new customers. And as a result of this, they want to entice you to stay. But beware! The devil is in the details. They might say the phone is free, but really it’s not, those days of free phones are in the deep past. You’ll have to commit for 30 months to a plan that might be more expensive than the one you’ve got now. The iPhone might look free, but the cost is just baked-in to the aforementioned 30 payments.

However, having said that, the three major providers give you a few more bucks in trade than Apple. But don’t be wowed by the huge numbers, $800 for your old iPhone. In truth, that’s for last year’s top of the line, maxed out. Chances are your phone will be worth less than a hundred bucks, but it’s worth something, and money is money.

But Apple is such a better buying experience. If you need to talk with someone they are knowledgeable, and there are no tricks and the company is not out to screw you. (If you want to cancel AppleTV+, you just slide a button in the settings of your phone. If only the rest of the streamers were so easy.)

I could talk about locked and unlocked, but really you don’t need to know, it’s irrelevant to almost everybody, and if it’s important to you you’re already fully-versed in the details.

As for USB-C… Never has so much ink been spread about something so trivial. Macs have been USB-C since 2016. Sure, you’ll have to toss your Lightning cables, but a new USB-C cable comes in the box anyway. As for the brick…

Apple stopped providing them in the box years ago. Furthermore, you probably have one of those old tiny square charging bricks anyway, you want the newer, more powerful rectangular one. You might even have one from your last iPhone purchase, I certainly do. And the important thing here is… The connector is already USB-C! So you don’t need a new brick. But if you’re starting from scratch, time to upgrade your brick anyway.

As for the cable… DON’T CHEAP OUT! Don’t buy the gas station cheapie, don’t save bucks here. You don’t have to buy an overpriced Apple cable, but if you go for something cheaper, choose an Anker, or another established brand. You see all USB-C cords might look the same, but they are not, there are chips in the Apple cord, making sure you get just the right amount of juice to your iPhone, so it doesn’t burn up.

And one more thing, warranty…

The Amex Platinum card will cover you, but only up to $800. That’s gonna hurt if you lose your iPhone 15 Pro Max. Even worse, you might be getting a discount from your provider for going paperless. Usually if you use your Amex Platinum card, you lose the discount.

If you’re worried about loss and theft, buy AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss. Oh, it makes no sense financially, but it gives you complete peace of mind, if that means anything to you. I’ve never lost a phone, never even broken one, but with this coverage I don’t worry about it. I’ll shoot in the rain, take my phone out on a cliff, while in a boat, knowing I’m covered. And Apple will get you a new phone almost instantly, without having to jump through too many hoops. You can buy coverage from your provider, and it’s usually cheaper, but not as comprehensive, and more difficult to collect. You can choose.

As for phone support… Most people won’t need it, and Google can answer most of your questions, but it is good to know you can call, frequently about integration with your other Apple devices, and get an answer, that’s what AppleCare provides.

As to your other devices… Really, if you have an iPhone, you should go Mac. Now if you’ve got to use a PC for business, I understand it. If you’re used to a PC and loath to switch, it’s really not difficult, and the Apple Store will walk you through the process, teach you for free.

And it used to be that Macs were overpriced. But if money is your issue, you can now buy a MacBook Air for a grand. As for the extra money, your Mac will last longer in utility, and the difference will be a wash.

As for which MacBook Air to buy…

Well, let’s start by saying only buy a MacBook Air if you’re going to transport it, move it around, because it’s inherently hobbled, otherwise go for a MacBook Pro, the 13″ starts at $1299 and is more powerful and will last longer than the Air.

But if totability is key… You can get an Air… I’m always into the most screen real estate possible. So that would augur for a MacBook Air 15″, but if you’re buying an Air for portability, do you really want a bigger device?

As for chips and speed and storage… As long as it’s an M chip, they’re all good, they’re all fast, but the newer and more powerful the better. And the devices now come with enough RAM, which was not the case previously. Well, except for the 13″ Air, which like I said above, is inherently hobbled. It comes with 8GB of RAM, I’d bump it to 16, and only 256 GB of storage, and you need at least 512… As for storage, it’s not like the old days, with so much living in the cloud, the only thing that eats up a lot of storage space is photos, but they can eat up a lot of space. And if you’re making movies…buy more storage, and you might even need an external device too.

All the MacBooks are of recent vintage, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy any of them now.

As for the iMac… Absolutely do not buy one now. They’re going to introduce a new, updated model imminently. Wait.

As for a 27″ iMac… There have been some rumors that it will reappear, but don’t hold your breath, if you want 27″ of screen real estate, and believe me, it makes a difference, opt for a Mac Studio. You do not need the M2 Ultra…or let me say if you do, you know. The M2 Ultra doesn’t even make a difference with most everyday tasks. It only adds speed with a few high-tech applications, mostly video. So save $2000.

So you’re in for $1999. You can buy the basic Mac Studio, although I’d bump up storage, probably even the M2 Max chip and I’d go for 64GB of RAM, but it’s not necessary.

But then comes the problem, the screen. The Apple Studio Display, for $1599, is long in the tooth and was behind the times when it was launched eighteen months ago. Don’t buy it, it’s a rip-off. Apple needs a new Studio Display, when will it come? No one is sure, everybody hopes soon, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. However, Samsung just introduced a new 5k screen for the same price that is thoroughly up-to-date. Sure, you’ll lose a little bit of functionality, integration with the Mac Studio, but you’ll get a much better display. As for the speakers in the Apple Studio Display… I mean if you’re listening to audio via your display, why are you buying a Mac Studio to begin with? A waste of money.

Now what Apple is selling is an ecosystem, everything works together, seamlessly, with added productivity. And if there is a problem, you can get answers, you won’t hear that someone else made the device and there’s nothing they can do.

But it all starts with the iPhone. The iPhone is the most important device you own. Period. Ignore all the screeds about being on the phone too long, the phone is your right hand, you can’t live without it, you need to call up an Uber, order food, connect with friends, research, it’s an amazing piece of kit. You want a great phone, don’t chintz. Furthermore, a great phone will give you more functionality. There is so much power in the iPhone, more than you can ever use. Your friends will give you some tips, like with AirDrop, but the better the phone the more you can do with it and the faster you can do it.

You need a new iPhone, it’s just a matter of when.

And don’t get emotional about it, don’t talk about planned obsolescence, don’t talk about the Apple premium, don’t go on an anti-tech rant, because then you’ll just look ignorant, the joke will be on you.

You’ll want a new iPhone, it’s just a matter of when.

And when you get one, be sure to go for the Pro, otherwise you’re being blind to the math and losing functionality in the process. And believe me, you want that functionality, don’t hobble yourself. Think about all that power in the palm of your hand for so little money, it’s incredible. Oh, the places you will go, and what you will see… A great smartphone enriches your life, and you want an iPhone. Period.

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