The Most Skippable iPhone?

Like a kid at Christmas, there I was doing my part. I waited patiently. I was ready. This year though, Apple had other plans.

I have been anxiously awaiting this years iPhone release for more than a year. It has been my customary tradition to upgrade my most used tech device every 2 years. Even when Apple introduced their now infamous “Upgrade Program,” I still held off. Because frankly, I like keeping my phones for 2 years. I don’t why, I just do.

So around June-ish the rumors started to hit pretty heavy that the new upcoming iPhone is not what we thought it may be. It’s not redesigned, it’s not exciting and most notably it’s not even garnering the most attention. Turns out this year, the next next iPhone is getting more attention then the soon anticipated one. The rumors started to hit hard that Apple was working diligently on a revolutionary, edge to edge screen design for the 10th anniversary iPhone that would release in 2017. This was a first. I didn’t know what to think about this. Essentially my mind translated all this into: this new, unreleased iPhone (2016) is already outdated.

I didn’t like this. Who would? Here I am intentionally waiting for the new hotness, only to start hearing rumors that the new hotness is not the new hotness. I thought to myself, “Be Patient”. Wait and see. And wait I did…

Fast Forward…. Enter September 7, 2016. Apple officially reveals iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The rumors were dead on. Not newly designed. Not exciting. Not new hotness. To be fair, the iPhones 7 have a lot going for them. This marks the first time Apple has ever made a design 3 times in a row. At this point I would assume they have perfected it. So a big benefit is naturally, if your buying an iPhone 7, your receiving a very well polished, solid device to surely last you 2 years.

So there I was faced with this unusual situation I never chose to be in. I waited, I did my part. Apple showed their cards and I’m kind of left scratching my head. What do I do? I thought about this a bunch. I didn’t want to waste my upgrade on a phone only to be left out in the dark when/if Apple does release this magical, unicorn, 10th anniversary iPhone next year. Also another huge element in my decision making was Apple’s new operating system, iOS 10. In my mind, iOS 10 was going to make or break my decision. If it ran awful on my current iPhone 6 my choice would be an easy one. If it ran silky smooth. That would pull me in the keeping the 6 camp.

On the other hand, iPhone release week is a fun time to be an Apple fan. You get caught in the excitement extremely easy and naturally, you want to be a part of it and on my traditional 2 year cycle, I usually am. Another huge benefit I was to gain is simply having a new phone. My current phone is 2 years old and showing some age. The great thing about buying a new phone every 2 years is really receiving upgrades from 2 new phone generations, not 1.

So honestly speaking, the night preorders hit, instead of my usual super excitement, I set my alarm for 2:55 AM with an indecisive (who me?) mind. My alarm sounded, clock showed 2:55. Here I go. Pull out my trusty laptop. Apple.com here I come. Do all my preorder set up and come to the moment of truth: the “place order button.”

Excitement got the best of me. I preordered feeling “OK” about the decision but also in the back of my head knew iOS 10 dropped in 3 days. If iOS 10 would run smoothly on my current iPhone 6 and I wasn’t impressed with the 7, the plan of action would be pretty clear: my usual return policy which is return everything! Lindsey now calls it my “ride of shame” which I laugh at because it unbelievably accurate of my emotions when I’m driving to the Apple store with a receipt and a box.

So, iPhone 7 preordered and coming on launch day and awaiting iOS 10. The day of iOS 10’s release I was excited. Kinda like the excited I used to be for new iPhone releases. And that spoke volumes to me. I asked myself why? The truth I came to find out was simple. I really didn’t want the iPhone 7. In many ways I was hoping to pass on it. If I passed on it, I would have many, many options for next year.

iOS 10 released and I honestly think my phone runs better then it did on iOS 9. The big things checked out: battery life, responsiveness, all good! I was excited. I felt confident my 6 would be good to last another year, Then my 7 came in the mail. And to give Apple credit, the phone is gorgeous. I ordered the matte black model and boy I’m happy I did. Even without a new design, somehow Apple made this phone better looking then ever. I was tempted briefly to keep it (of course I was) but after some clear thinking and adding up all the moving parts: iOS 10 performance on my current phone, next year impending magical phone and keeping my upgrade intact. I just couldn’t do it. Ride of shame, we meet once again.

So thats it, thats my story (so far). The back up plan is if something happens to my third year iPhone that deems it unusable, I’ll bite the bullet and head on over to Apple and pick up a 7. Until then I feel at peace with my decision. An odd choice ill be the first to admit. I’ve never had a cell phone for 3 years. So we will see how that pans out.

I should note, people have mentioned the obvious to me. What if Apple’s magical unicorn phone does not come out next year? Do you hold on to your iPhone 6 a 4th year? The answer: I don’t know. I doubt it, but we’ll see. For the record, I’m really hoping Apple comes through.

Like many reviewers currently out there, I can’t bash Apple. My decision was based on what I wanted and not what Apple did or did not do, if that makes sense. Sure the iPhone 7 didn’t ring my bell this time around. That doesn’t mean it’s not a great phone. In fact it is a great phone. Any time Apple makes something 3 times over you better believe its a solid product. You also have to give Apple props that my current daily driver (iPhone 6) is 2 years old and simply running better then ever. What other tech company can boast about something like that? So in one way the iPhone 7 is Apple’s most skippable phone. In many others, Apple’s most conceived phone. Its all in how you look at it.

If you ordered an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus. Be excited. It’s a worthy representation of the newest iPhone. But as for me, When I returned mine I finally got to play with one in the store. The best way for me to sum up my hands on experience of an iPhone 7 is simple. IPhone 7: next year’s iPhone hidden in this years casing. Its extremely clear to me that this years iPhone is a transition phone until next year. And you know who can’t wait to be excited again for a new iPhone announcement? This guy.

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