7 Minute Miles

My Next Phone

Posted Tuesday, September 15th, 2015 08:17 pm GMT -5 in Photography, Technology

Last week’s Apple event was almost overwhelming: watchOS 2, iPad Pro, AppleTV and the new iPhones. Not to mention iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan waiting in the wings (tomorrow and 9/30, respectively). The two-year AT&T contract with my trusty 32GB Space Gray iPhone 5S is up next month (10/16), so it’s time to start planning (and saving).

Colleen and MK both upgraded to iPhone 6 models in the past year and elected for the non-Plus model (both 64GB). We received a few big phones at work right after they came out and I was convinced they weren’t for me. A month ago, though, we had one come back into the shop and I decided to try it out for a few weeks. Carrying two phones is a royal pain in the butt, but it was a worthwhile experiment. My conclusion? The 128GB Space Gray iPhone 6S Plus will be my next phone.

The 5.5-inch screen with 1920×1080 resolution is just gorgeous. It’s very large, but still fit in my pocket with no issues. My hands are a little too small to reach all corners comfortably, so it’s not always the greatest experience when you only have one hand free. Two handed, however, is almost like having an iPad mini again. I didn’t notice a difference in picture quality between the 6 Plus and my 5S, but the 6S Plus will have the larger 12MP resolution camera. Battery life was way better, but still not where I’d really like it to be. The 6S Plus will also pick up all of the other new goodies: 3D Touch, the 64-bit A9 chip, improved Touch ID and faster networking. Sounds like the big ones will be hard to get initially, based on the Apple Store reservation page.

As I found out when MK got her new phone, the carriers have mostly moved away from the subsidized pricing with a two-year contract routine. Now, you can either pay the full cost of the phone up front or divide it interest-free across the life of the new contract and just add that to your monthly bill. I was planning to do the latter with my new phone, but then Apple introduced their new iPhone Upgrade Program, which is actually administered through Citizens Bank. Reviews I’ve read said the Apple plan is a good deal, but one story also mentioned that AT&T may give me up to $300 for the 5S if I trade it in, so we’ll see. I could sell it myself, but that has been a pain in the past.

The Apple plan is appealing in that you get AppleCare+ (normally $129), the 6S Plus comes unlocked and you can get a new phone next year (presumably the 7 Plus). Of course you have to turn the old one in and extend the contract for another 24 months, but it seems like an easy way to stay current without any big financial penalty. They do require all kinds of info to initially get signed up: carrier information, date of birth, social security number, credit card, two forms of ID and your current phone (presumably for the SIM/number info). The monthly payments for the 128GB 6S Plus model are listed at $44.91, or a (very) grand total of $1,077.84.


The only way this looks reasonable is that I can basically cut an iPad mini out of my life, leaving just Lapzilla and Phonezilla. That, plus I’ve always really paid this much – the costs were just better hidden before. The carousel of progress turns and turns…

Originally published by DK on September 15, 2015 at 8:17 pm

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