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Keep the iPhone Upgrade Rationalization at Bay

28 Jun

Apple iPhone 4 - photo by Jorge Quinteros

Tick Tock

If you’re like me, once your iPhone has been eclipsed by a newer generation, the rationalization clock of why you need the latest and greatest version begins to tick.

The first line of defense is usually the two-year contract you dreaded in the first place. After all, most people can keep it together long enough to pay the typical $200 entry fee for the newest ride at “Apple World” (there’s an Apple Land, too, but it’s not as good). Otherwise, you face hundreds of dollars more. Even for one on eBay.

But what really gets you once those two years go by are those “I’m a step ahead” people you know. You’re ready to stick it to all your friends and colleagues who need to show you just how much faster and slimmer their latest generation iPhones are, or perhaps give you the “Wait, why isn’t your video working on our Skype call? Is your forward camera broken?” line.

Keeping Hope Alive

Well, if the stars are aligned just right, you might be far enough into the current product cycle, making it likely that Apple will release something even better in a few months. This means you can leap frog everyone who just invested in what is soon to be an iClassic. Apple Insider is great for providing hints as to when Apple plans to release new products. Right now, all is abuzz about an iPhone 5 release in September.

If hope doesn’t give you the needed willpower, the iPhone lust that got you to drink the Kool-Aid in the first place might turn to disgust. For every feature you coveted on your current phone, now you only see faults. You might even go so far as to sabotage your iPhone relationship by going caseless, bating the gods of cracked screens and tormenting them with extra, casual tosses onto the desk in a pathetic self-delusion of fate.

Believe me, I’ve been through it all, and while I hope the iPhone 5 comes out ASAP, at least, in the meantime, The New York Times’s David Pogue offers tips on how to take some tarnish off our current model.

The Numbers

At the end of the day, it’s good to know the value of stretching your upgrade cycle, even by one year.

If you were to get the latest iPhone for $200 every three years vs. every two years over the course of the next 35 years, you would save an average of $34 per year. That’s lame, unless you invested the savings… For example, if at age 30 you invested the $34 in a well-performing humdrum investment, such as a quality mutual fund with a long track record, you would find an extra $10k and change in your bank account when you retired at 65.

Let’s say you went really crazy and decided to get a new, last generation iPhone (e.g. 3Gs) for $50 every two years. Over the course of the next 35 years, you would save an average of $77 per year. That’s not even a fancy meal out, but it’ll boost your retirement by $22k.

Now the insanity. If you could handle being one generation behind every two years (having a 3GS today), and you kept your previous iPhone in good enough shape to eBay it (the original iPhone) every time you upgraded, you would be pulling in another $100 to your “iPhone Fund.” Over the same 35 years, that’s $48k waiting for you at the end.

If you’re not convinced that it’s worth it, here’s a little something you can buy with all that delayed gratification.

A 1965 Ford Mustang Cobra replica I found on

Now tell me this: What would you buy with $48k? Do you think you’d get more utility/enjoyment out of having the latest iPhone instead?



A Note From Christopher

04 May

Yin YangWow. We have been talking about something like this for some time now. The name itself “Pinstripes & Sandals” is credited to Christopher Alba, a close friend of mine. He was always dressed to the 9s in a 3 piece suit working for one of the big banks while I was going solo as a technology advisor and I was able to spend many a day in sandals.

The real joke was however, that we both envied the other. I wanted his paycheck and he wanted my freedom. Only until now did I match up our “duo call sign” to a project JP and I were throwing around about documenting our personal quests. Read the rest of this entry »

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