Orchard | Blog

How to Afford the Latest iPhone Every Year

Getting the latest iPhone every year can be a reality, thanks to a strong second-hand market. For the last few years, a new iPhone model has been released each September. It can be tempting to own the latest, greatest device from Apple – but buying new every year can get expensive.

Luckily the second-hand iPhone market is thriving, and even last year’s device sells for a lot of money – making the amount you need to spend to upgrade suddenly sound a lot more reasonable. We took a look at some historical price data to see how much you could get for last year’s iPhone one week after the new model is released. Here’s what we found.

A like-new iPhone 5S only lost about 40% of its Fair Market Value over its first year.

That means that in September 2014 in the United States, you could have bought the brand new iPhone 6 for only $260 extra out of your pocket (if you already owned a 5S, of course). Assuming this continues, it means that if you put aside only $22/month, you could have the latest iPhone model every single year.

In comparison, if you were selling an iPhone 5 in the US, you would have to come up with an extra $384 (or about $32/month) in order to afford the iPhone 6.

Obviously, selling your old phone earlier could bring in even more money (about $100 extra) – but that would mean that you have to use a replacement phone of some sort in-between. By selling right away when the newest phone is released, you will never have to live without a working phone while still getting a lot for selling your old one. If you pre-order the newest iPhone and pick it up on (or soon after) release day, you can easily have sold your old phone and gotten paid before your credit card bill even comes due.

Forgetting about money for a second, there are a few other key benefits to this strategy:

  1. You will always have a phone that is covered by Apple’s warranty – which can be a very valuable prospect in itself.
  2. Your battery life will always be great, you don’t have to worry about it diminishing over time
  3. You never have to be locked into a carrier contract

 

Speaking of carrier contracts – most carriers have separate price tiers for if you brought your own device, or if you received a price subsidy. Our buying and selling strategy assumes you’re getting unlocked devices straight from Apple, although the math still mostly works out if you bought a subsidized phone.