The iPhone 9, so called, has the body of the 8 with the guts of the 13. Including the 13’s single camera (no tele or ultrawide) and lack of 3D Touch. Also presumably lack of 5G. But as an 8, presume no Photo ID (who cares) or Animoji (OK that hurts). No dual or eSIM (could be a problem later).
But also: proven components, no 5G, no possible USB-C, no radical new tech. For better or worse. And based on current offering prices projected forward, I can get a 128GB, which is all I need. Otherwise I’m paying the not-inconsiderable premium to go from 64 to 256 with no stops in between.
And the iPhone 12 has 5G, which is poorly distributed and not pervasive or proven. With, apparently, Apple’s antenna of their own design rather than Qualcomm’s. Which suggests, chillingly, that the phone has to be thinner than 8mm. And given that people are now mentioning a new side-mounted TouchID, that’s an ever-growing number of new parts.
Too, think about the changes. The 4 famously had antenna issues, while the 4S added Siri and a better camera. The 5 through work, first LTE device, turned out to be a dog on Verizon – and the 5S went 64-bit and added TouchID. The XS got a newer, more efficient processor than the X. The new style hardware has a world of issues the first time out, it seems, and the legacy of Jony Ive seems to be “never buy the first iteration of an Apple product”.
Why not get an unlocked phone that I know will be a step up from what I have now (by my lights), get myself onto the long-desired personally-owned device again? In a year when I know I have to buy the new Apple Watch to replace my Fitbit, is there something to be said for just paying $500 for the new phone now instead of $1200 in September? And then maybe in a year and a half, justification for the 12S or whatever it turns out to be, once 5G is pervasive and the technology is worked out?
It sounds like the iPhone 9 is coming in March, just like my favorite iteration ever, the iPhone SE. Four years on, maybe it’s a sign: save your money, get the known goods, and when the new hot fire comes out? Let somebody else go first.