Don't buy an iPhone right now — Apple's new iPhones are coming next month

Key Points
  • You should wait until September to buy a new iPhone.
  • Apple's new iPhones are expected then, which means you can either buy the new ones or older ones at a discount.
  • Some new iPhones also get exclusive features, like portrait mode on the iPhone 7 Plus, wireless charging on the iPhone 8 and Face ID on the iPhone X.
Tim Cook, Chief Executive Officer of Apple Inc., takes a selfie with a customer and her iPhone as he visits the Apple Store in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., March 27, 2018.
John Gress | Reuters

It's a bad time to buy an iPhone.

There are several reasons to wait, but I want to be clear: This isn't because Apple's current iPhones are bad. They're the best phones you can buy.

But Apple almost always unveils its new iPhones in September, so you should wait a few weeks to get the most bang for your buck.

Apple's current high-end flagship phones are the XS and XS Max. The phones that take their place at the top end of Apple's lineup will have the latest and greatest additions, reportedly including new cameras. If you're planning to spend more than $1,000 on a new phone, you're probably in the minority of buyers, so you should at least get the best phone you can for the price.

You should expect Apple's older iPhones to fall in price, too. Apple currently sells five phones: The XS, XS Max, the new but lower-priced XR, and the older 7 and 8. It probably won't keep selling all of those, but the ones that it continues to sell will be discounted.

Also, new iPhones typically introduce hardware that can take advantage of new software features. Apple's iOS 13 is a big new iPhone update rolling out this fall, and while the company has already revealed most of the changes, it may have some features that work best or only with new phones.

Face ID and Animoji, for example, worked only with the iPhone X when that phone launched in 2017. The same was true for the iPhone 7 Plus, which introduced Portrait mode in 2016, and the iPhone 8, which introduced wireless charging a year later.

There's one wildcard: President Donald Trump's latest tariffs on Chinese imports are set to go into effect on Sept. 1, and could increase the price of iPhones, since Apple will be paying 10 percent more to import them from China, where they're mostly manufactured. That could mean a $1,000 iPhone might actually end up costing you $1,100 come September. However J.P. Morgan analysts expect Apple will eat the tariff costs instead of passing the higher price down to consumers.

So the gist is this: Whether you want a brand new model or are satisfied with an older one, hold off until Apple refreshes its lineup.

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