Should You Upgrade to the New IPhone? A quick comparison of iPhone 5S – iPhone 5C – iPhone 5

If you’re an iPhone owner like me, you’re currently weighing your options on whether to upgrade to one of the newest iPhones just announced, or even to hold out for next year. Here are a few thoughts:

The iPhone 5C is replacing the iPhone 5, meaning the 5 is no longer for sale. After doing some research and comparisons, the reason for this is that there’s little difference between the devices on the inside. The phones will run nearly identically, save for a slightly better battery life on the newer phone.

The obvious changes are on the exterior: Color & Price.

The colorful new phones (and new Apple cases) are definitely aesthetically pleasing, as is the lower intro price of $99 for the 16GB model (w/2 yr contract). But if you’re an iPhone power user, don’t settle for this device.

For those that love their iPhone 5, or even one of the older models like the 4S, and don’t even use the majority of what the phone is capable of doing, the iPhone 5C will surely please you. Should you upgrade your iPhone 5 to the 5C? In my opinion, no. The devices are too similar, and you won’t see much of a difference. When you upgrade your phone to the new iOS 7, your phone will feel like a new device, the same OS running on the 5C (and 5S).

However, if you’re a power user, and/or like all the newest bells and whistles, consider upgrading to the 5S.

The iPhone 5S looks similarly to the iPhone 5, with perhaps some slightly different color hues. But the real changes are on the interior. The 5S has a revamped camera, taking “SLR” quality photos (according to Apple), as well as an HD quality front-facing camera; a new 64-bit chip, the first phone to have anything larger than 32-bits, which will make the device’s computing power and speed truly impressive; an impressive fingerprint scanner, allowing one to unlock their phone and apps with the swipe of a finger instead of continuously inputting passwords; a new, additional, chip in the phone that’s dedicated to location, movement, and other types of data that will make the main chip more efficient, faster, and save battery life.

The pricing for the iPhone 5S is similar to its predecessors, $199 for the 16GB model.

One of the things I always think about is resale value. iPhones have the highest resale value of any device on the market (likely because Androids are inexpensive to begin with). I’ve sold every iPhone I’ve owned (as well as my wife’s) – selling about 1 a year for the past 5 years. I’ve always received close to or more than the cost of the device itself, because there is a huge resale market for iPhones, domestically and abroad. (I recently sold a used iPhone 4S 16GB for over $330 to someone overseas), which helped pay for my $299 iPhone 5 I bought last year. If you’re good about selling your devices as soon as you upgrade, you can recoup your costs, or even make a profit.

Why do I mention this?

Consider the resale value of the phone you get next. Considering the new features of the iPhone 5S, it will have huge resale value even in a year or two when you’re ready to sell it. The 5C likely will too, but not to the same extent as the technology isn’t new. If you’re seeking a major upgrade, go all the way, and get the iPhone 5S.


Check out the following comparison chart from CNET. (The iPhone 5 will have iOS7 by the time the 5C/5S come out).