Does upgrading to a new iPhone every 2 years still make sense? I don’t think so

Does upgrading to a new iPhone every 2 years still make sense? I don’t think so

We all know the drill. As Apple’s annual fall event draws close, many of us start to check in on our previous two-year smartphone plan to see if we’re eligible for an upgrade in September. After all, the newest phone is only the newest phone for so long. Even for discerning shoppers like me, it takes serious willpower to resist the lure of a purple iPhone or 1TB of storage.

Mobile carriers have long persuaded many of us to upgrade our smartphones every two years, offering two-year contracts linked to free or low-cost phone upgrades to keep the two-year upgrade cycle going. That feeling of ponying up just a couple hundred dollars (or less) for the newest, fanciest phone available has helped perpetuate the rise of the de facto two-year phone upgrade. Case in point: AT&T and Verizon marketed a “free” iPhone 12 last year for customers who buy unlimited plans and commit to a multiyear deal. And the trade-in deals were even better this year for the iPhone 13.

But even though that might still be the norm in the US, a routine upgrade isn’t a thing for much of the world.

I was born and raised in developing Asia, a region where buying a smartphone is financially unattainable for hundreds of millions of people, much less a two-year upgrade. In India, the average person needs to save two months’ salary to buy the cheapest available smartphone, according to a survey published by the Alliance for Affordable Internet last August. From my perspective, the trend of routinely upgrading a phone every two years when it doesn’t change that much is a privilege, one that reminds me of the stark income equality gap as well as the ever-increasing digital divide globally…Read more>>



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