Why do I buy a new iPhone every year?

Why do I buy a new iPhone every year?
Photo by Omid Armin / Unsplash

Apple consistently releases a new iPhone each year, and I always end up buying one without borrowing money or financing. There are many reasons not to upgrade every year:

  • unnecessary expense
  • not environment friendly
  • getting further trapped in the Apple walled garden

This blog post is selfishly written by me to avoid decision-making fatigue and justify my yearly iPhone purchases.

Anyway, in no particular order, the following are my reasons (perhaps unjustified):

1. I want to have the newest 📱

Seems obvious, but I do like having the latest and greatest iPhones. Most years, upgrading from the previous version does not make logical sense. Having done just that for over 10 years, I can tell you, annual upgrades are not a great use of money. Even though iPhones don't improve significantly, each new version has something better than the previous one. As someone who appreciates and enjoys mobile technology, I am always eagerly awaiting the smallest of improvements. At first, I was upgrading because of the improvements in the camera. However, the annual upgrades are not worth it for this reason as well. However, my iPhone is my only camera, and it makes sense to me to have the best camera I possibly can. Are the differences significant? Hell no. They are actually insignificant, and admittedly, at times, I cannot even tell the difference.

2. For my family ❤️

My family couldn’t care less about technology or mobile phones in general. If they had their way, they would use a mobile phone until it literally stopped working. Therefore, for over 10 years, my entire family has not spent a single dollar on buying a mobile device. Currently, my family has:

  • Wife: iPhone 14 Pro Max
  • Mum: iPhone 13 Pro Max
  • Dad: iPhone 12 Pro

In addition, my accessories that I buy for my iPhones also get used over the years. The lightning cables are useless to me now because of the USB-C on iPhone 15, but they are still useful to everyone else in my house. This has annoyed me on multiple occasions. But this is a problem that will be resolved in due course.

It makes me happy that my family has somewhat new iPhones. Therefore:

  • My family members can also take brilliant pictures which, thanks to having a newer device.
  • Find My: it helps my entire family that we know where each one of us is located. Now, thanks to Airtag sharing, it's also a handy feature to know where the things that matter to my family are located.
  • Shopping list: because we all use iPhones, it's easy as hell to have a shared shopping list. Now, I know if left to my parents; they are likely just going to buy any cheap phone. It's nice to give these little luxuries in life to your loved ones. Now, I know my wife prefers earrings, but I only give gifts that I believe are valued by both of us... I'm selfish like that. Don't worry, my wife also gets her fair share of jewellery. I joked once that buying jewellery is like an annual tax to ensure I am still a married man.
  • Shared photo albums: self-explanatory... who doesn’t like pictures of family…

Interestingly, most of the above reasons are because of Apple ecosystem lock ins.. I wish that wasn’t the case. Perhaps, the European Union can help fix this, just like they pushed Apple into adopting USB-C on iPhones.

There are downsides to this approach as well. For example, at times, I would prefer the smaller iPhone, but I end up getting the Max version because is what my family prefers,. because of its battery life. This also hinders my options to expand to android devices.

3. Some financial concessions that help 💸

iPhones are expensive, and they appear to cost even more every few years. The tanking Australian dollar has not helped. However, the following makes the purchases somewhat easier on my wallet:

  • I got this credit card when I was in university that refunds me if there is an Australian retailer that sells the iPhones below RRP within 12 months. This feature is called Price Protection. For example, in Australia the iPhone 15 Pro Max is AUD2199, this is my purchase price. Usually, about 10 months after its release, local retail stores will discount the iPhones by $300. So, on average, every year, I have received $250 to $300 back on my credit card. This is not a lot, but it helps.
  • Overseas travel: I travel overseas during October and December, which allows me to get the GST (sales tax) back on my credit card. In Australia, the GST is 10%. Every dollar helps :)
  • Trading in the old phones typically gets me $200 to $300.

Therefore, on average, I get $700 to $800 back, which makes the overall cost of the iPhone down to manageable levels. Objectively, it is still a lot of money to spend on iPhones every year.

So there you have it… Three reasons I buy a new iPhone every year. Hopefully, next year, I can just read this post instead of reconsidering my decision like I have done for over 10 years.

Ironically, today also is the day that I packed my iPhone 15 Pro Max to be returned to Apple for a full refund. As to why I am doing that, perhaps that story is for another time.

Hold on... there’s more