Apple’s Offering A ‘Free’ iPhone 5s, Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Get One

This past weekend saw Apple kicking off its biggest iPhone upgrade event yet, offering owners of older models like the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 hundreds of dollars to switch up to the iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c. It’s a great offer, but there’s one big reason you shouldn’t jump at the chance to upgrade just quite yet.

If you’ve got an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S and an active Apple ID, chances are you’ve gotten an email from the iPhone maker in the last couple of days. 9to5Mac noticed late last week that Apple was sending out emails to iPhone owners telling them that “It’s a beautiful time for an upgrade.” Apple’s digital flyer offered iPhone traders up to $199 when recycling their current iPhones, as well as possible eligibility for special pricing on an iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c. With Apple offering up to $99 for an iPhone 4 and $199 for an iPhone 4S, you can get an iPhone 5s for as little as $0 — on contract, of course, so not exactly “free as in beer.”

iPhone upgrade offer from Apple.

So, a “free” iPhone 5s — why shouldn’t you take jump at the chance?

Here’s the thing: Apple is very likely just clearing stock with this offer. The latest rumors have the Cupertino phone maker getting ready to release one or two new models of iPhone in the coming months, and Apple almost certainly wants to clear out any backlog of iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c units. Apple may be sticking to the progression system it introduced last year with the 5s and 5c — wherein the year-old model is wrapped in plastic and sold at a cheaper price — so the next low-end version of the iPhone just might have that Touch ID sensor and super-fast processor that made 2013’s top-end model so attractive.

So the main reason you probably won’t want to upgrade is that there’s a new iPhone coming out, almost certainly within the next five months. Don’t believe the breathless “New iPhone in August!” rumors that pop up every three days; Apple is notoriously formulaic when it comes to release schedules. But have no doubt: At some point in the next few months, Apple will have a media event for a new model of iPhone. It may be bigger, it may be one of two models, but it will be new, and you will disappointed to have upgraded so soon.

Apple likes to debut features in one model of iPhone, only to refine them to near perfection in the next iteration. That’s what’s going to happen with the next iPhone, which will likely see an incredibly refined Touch ID implementation to go along with a sleek new design.

So that’s your main reason not to upgrade right now and take advantage of Apple’s aggressive trade-in offer: tech envy. If you’re totally fine with not having the latest and greatest in a couple of months, though, you should maybe look into picking up one of the newer models on trade-in: they’re priced about as cheap as you’re likely to see a recent model iPhone any time soon.

Image via BGR.

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