I’m a big fan of old technology. I think we could all bear updating our devices less and pushing the things we have to their limits. Of course, nothing lasts forever: Eventually, there will come a day when, like it or not, you’ll have to get a new iPhone. When that day arrives, however, rather than walking into an Apple Store or Best Buy, I think you should buy something used.
While I’m wary of making tech predictions, the news doesn’t seem great for the price of the iPhone 14 Pro. While the base 14 should be in line with iPhone 13 price, rumored Apple will increase the price of Pros by US$100 ($139). While the iPhone 13 Pro starts at US$1,000 ($1,388), the iPhone 14 Pro could start at US$1,100 ($1,527). Of course, you’re getting something new for your money: if the speculation is true, the 14 Pro will come with a less intrusive front camera cutout design to replace the notch, a next-gen Apple chipset, and an always-on display. turned on, as you find on recent Apple Watch models (and many Android devices).
And, well, that’s about it: a few fun new features that set this phone apart from last year’s 13 Pro, for $100 ($139) more. I’m not trying to knock the hypothetical device itself: I’m sure, like every new iPhone, it will be the fastest and most feature-rich model to date. If you buy one, you’ll be able to take advantage of everything Apple has to offer on iOS (at least until next year), so if you want one, more power to you.
But, at this point, I don’t see the assess by buying the latest and greatest. US$1,100 ($1,527) is a plot money for a phone, money you don’t need to spend to get the full iPhone experience. This idea is also not speculation: with the announcement of iOS 16, Apple has confirmed not only which iPhones would be compatible with the new softwarethe company also detailed which of these iPhones would be compatible with which features.
Of course, if you still have an iPhone 8, or even an X, you will receive the new update with the latest iPhones, but you will be missing one plot of features. You can’t use your iPhone as your Mac’s webcam with Continuity Camera; you can’t instantly cut out a subject from a photo with just a long press; you cannot use dictation and type at the same time; and you won’t be able to hang up a call with Siri.
However, all of these features are available on the generation of iPhone after these A11 devices: the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR. There are 12 confirmed features available on these devices which are not compatible with iPhone 8, 8 Plus or X, and seeing that there is a host of hidden iOS 16 features Apple never talked about it, there could be more exclusives too.
Back in September I called the XS the best-used iPhone on the market. When I wrote this article nine months ago, the average price of an XS on Swappa was US$309 ($429). It’s now US$247 ($343), making it an even better deal than ever. For the price of a pair of AirPods Pro, you can get an iPhone that can keep up with plenty of features with iOS 16, and it’s almost guaranteed to support at least iOS 17 as well.
Of course, these A12 iPhones do not support everything new features in iOS 16, just most of them. If you’re interested in features like live captions (including live captions during FaceTime calls), as well as Center Stage and Desktop View with Continuity Camera, you’ll need at least an iPhone 11. It will cost you an average of $67 more ($93) on the XS: If you need the OLED screen of the XS, or want a third camera, the 11 Pro fetches nearly US$400 ($555) these days.
Still, you can buy an 11 Pro with its amazing display, great cameras, and still-powerful A13 chip for less. the third generation iPhone SEwhich sports an outdated 750p IPS display, single (decent) rear camera, with the same design language that Apple first introduced in 2014.
However, as you move up the ranks, you start to see fewer and fewer returns. You’ll need at least an iPhone 12 to take advantage of Studio Light with Continuity Camera, an iPhone 12 Pro to detect objects in Magnifier, and an iPhone 13 Pro to blur the foreground in Portrait mode. For the money, however, you’re probably better off with the XS or 11 line, as most of the best iOS 16 features will be available on those platforms.
Don’t totally ignore the A11 series either: although they lack features, they are still compatible with some of the most important new features of iOS 16, including customizable lock screens, editing and cancellation messages and password keys. Apple password replacement. If someone presents you with a great offer on an iPhone X, know that you will get a lot of iPhone for very little investment.
The thing is, the value of a used iPhone is pretty unbeatable: an iPhone 11 Pro might not be able to everything the iPhone 14 Pro can, but are the latter’s latest features worth more than US$700 ($972)? I do not think so. After all, battery replacement is sometimes all an older, supported iPhone needs to feel brand new, and I have a feeling that’s all most of us iPhone owners really need.