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How to decide if the iPhone X is worth $1K

  • It's Apple's most expensive phone to date but there may be a limit to what consumers will spend.

Sure it's cool, but is that worth a cool grand?

The Apple iPhone X is loaded with new features, including facial recognition, wireless charging and an improved camera, which could be important if you are considering an upgrade.

But thanks to the complete redesign, it's also the most expensive phone to date with a $999 price tag.

"Consumers are asked to pay $1,000 for the new iPhone X at a time when credit card debt is approaching record highs," said Jill Gonzalez, a senior analyst at WalletHub. "Still, installment plans and other financing arrangements will help the iPhone remain as popular as ever, even if, from an economic point of view, it's not the best time to indulge in such expenses."

About three-quarters of consumers said they don't plan to buy the new iPhone, according to a recent WalletHub survey. Still, Apple fans are likely less price sensitive and may opt for it anyway.

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks about the new iPhone X during a media event at Apple's new headquarters in Cupertino, California on September 12, 2017.
Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks about the new iPhone X during a media event at Apple's new headquarters in Cupertino, California on September 12, 2017.

Those considering the purchase should still weigh whether it is cheaper to buy or lease and compare installment plans and contracts first, Gonzalez said.

Financing options can cushion the blow. Those who finance the phone through Apple's upgrade program will only end up paying about $50 a month, not including a wireless plan.

"The best time to purchase a new iPhone will be over the Black Friday season." -Michael Bonebright, consumer analyst, DealNews

Patrick Moorhead, an industry analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, expects virtually everyone interested in the new iPhone X, which rolls out later this year, to use an installment plan.

On the flipside, consumers who proactively froze their credit to ward off identity thieves after the recent Equifax data breach could now face delays and fees if they try to line up financing for a new phone.

Either way, shoppers may be better off waiting — for now.

"The best time to purchase a new iPhone will be over the Black Friday season," according to Michael Bonebright, a consumer analyst at shopping comparison site DealNews.

"Stores like Best Buy will often bundle store gift cards to lower the cost of smartphones," he said. "Whatever you do, don't purchase Apple products from the Apple store. They haven't offered Black Friday discounts over the past two years and the store never hosts sales."

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