Thursday, November 26, 2015

You Should Buy Your iPhone From Apple

Why I Bought My iPhone Straight from Apple (And You Should Too)

Last month I bought a new iPhone as I do every other year. I decided to go with the bigger iPhone 6S Plus rather than the 6S which Tim Brookes checked out and loved. This time, however, I did something a little differently. Rather than buying from my carrier, I bought it straight from Apple themselves.
It turned out to be a great decision. Here’s why you should do it too.

It’s Mine, All Mine

I paid in full, up front for my iPhone. This makes it a good bit more expensive than paying a carrier’s subsidized rate, but the advantage is that it’s completely mine to do with what I will.
Although you technically own the phone even if you buy it with a subsidy, the carrier will make up the money they lose at the start over the course of your contract. Here in Ireland, the contract for an iPhone or a high end Android phone like the Galaxy S6 Edge, is far higher than a similar contract for a cheaper phone.
Completely owning my iPhone gives me a lot more choice. If the worst came to the worst and I needed some quick cash, I could sell it (knowing that Apple products hold their retail value). If, however, it was a carrier subsidized phone I sold, I’d still have to pay the carrier more money over the course of the iPhone contract, even if I used a $20 dumb phone for the remainder of it.
If you like the freedom of actually owning your phone with no strings, you should buy your iPhone from Apple.

Freedom From Contracts

While it’s nice to own the phone up front, the greatest reason to buy your iPhone directly from Apple is that you can get one free of attachment to any particular network provider. The iPhone I bought is network unlocked. I can change providers and plans whenever I want.
Outside of the US, prepaid cell phone plans are a lot more popular. For about $25 a month, I can get a prepaid plan that includes around 100 minutes of calls, free texts, and 5GB of data. A package like that, with no month-to-month commitment is hard to turn down, especially when my previous contract was closer to $75 a month, and didn’t include a whole lot more.
If an even better offer comes along, I can jump ship as I please. If you want the flexibility to follow the best deals, you should buy your iPhone from Apple.

Freedom From Roaming Charges

Using your phone internationally can be really expensive. Unfortunately, if your phone’s locked to your a network in your home country, there’s only so much you can do about it. If, however, you’ve got an unlocked iPhone — handily purchased direct from Apple — you can pick up a cheap local SIM card and use your phone as normal.
This was one of the deciding factors for me. I spent a few months travelling this summer and came home to some slightly unpleasant bills. I was expecting them, but still — paying twice my monthly average because I’d used my phone a bit in another country grated. Now, I don’t have to worry about it at all.
If you travel internationally for even a few weeks a year, the savings you make on your phone bill could go a long way towards making up the difference between the carrier subsidized price and the Apple price of an iPhone. As most contracts are 18, or 24 months long, if you’re planning to travel (or even just want the option to) over the next two years, you should buy your iPhone from Apple.

Apple Has an Amazing Return Policy

I bought the iPhone 6S Plus but I wasn’t sure about it. I was jumping from a 5S and I knew it was going to be a lot bigger. I just wasn’t sure if it was going to be too big or not.
Fortunately for me, Apple gives you 14 days from when you receive your iPhone to decide whether or not you want to keep it. If you don’t, you can return it for a full refund, no questions asked. This meant I could comfortably check out the 6S Plus without worrying that I was committing to two years with a comically oversized phone.
In the end, I decided to keep it. If I’d bought directly from a carrier I wouldn’t have had the same flexibility. Returning my phone would have involved jumping through a lot more hoops.
I had to buy my iPhone online because there are no Apple Stores in Ireland, but if you are lucky enough to live near one, you should buy directly from the store. That way there’s a physical location for you to return it to if you want; you don’t have to deal with the hassle of prepaid shipping labels and courier collection times.
If you’re not sure what iPhone you want and want the option to try it out for a few days, you should buy your iPhone from Apple.

A Note on the iPhone Upgrade Program

This year Apple has introduced a new iPhone Upgrade Program. For a reasonable monthly fee you get a new iPhone for the year. At the end of the year, you return it and swap it in for the latest model. While this sounds great on paper, I’m not convinced.
While it’s probably a step up from getting your phone from your carrier, you’re still tied in to monthly contracts and you lose all the flexibility that I got with my all-up-front iPhone.

When You Shouldn’t Buy From Apple

While buying directly from Apple is great, it probably isn’t for everyone. If you aren’t able to pay the full price up front, are able to get a decent deal on a contract, aren’t planning on travelling anywhere much, or know what iPhone you want, you won’t see anywhere near the benefit I did.
However, it’s still an option you should consider. The iPhone Upgrade Program might work instead of buying straight from your carrier, that way you at least get some flexibility.
Where do you buy your iPhones? Do you buy them from a carrier or straight from Apple themselves like I do? Let us know what you do and why in the comments.

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