The iPhone 6, with a big, bright screen for talking to your friends when you're in the fjords and they're in the tropics.

The iPhone 6, with a big, bright screen for talking to your friends when you’re in the fjords and they’re in the tropics.

So the brand-spankin’-new iPhone 6 and 6+ are out. Even though it’s in short supply, you can usually call around to a couple of Apple Stores to find one with a few in stock. Consumer Reports proved they don’t bend any worse than other phones, iOS 8.0.2 has fixed the fingerprint and battery life problems, so all systems are go.

But what about the iPhone 5s? This powerful phone has been out for just over a year. Sure, the 6 has some “new,” like the larger, denser screen and Apple Pay built in, but mostly it’s the 5s, but MORE. More battery, more camera, more speed, thinner, etc. It is next year’s model. Only there’s no completely new earth-shaking doohickey.

Of course, the 6’s camera is amazing. It’s as far beyond the 5s’s as the 5s’s is beyond everything that came before it.

It’s vastly superior if you’re:

  • Making videos on an unsteady platform (stabilization.)
  • Changing from close to distant subjects quickly (focus pixels.)
  • Need to slow fast things down quite a bit (better slow motion.)

If you’re like me, with a 5s, and without a pressing need to do any of those things, you have no reason to rush out in a buying frenzy.

But what if you’ve got an older iPhone? You’re a couple of generations back now, maybe your 2 year contract is finally up and you’re wondering if it’s time to make a move. What should you get? The 5s is only $99 now. And some people are getting them for less. Will it last you for a while? Or should you save your pennies until you can afford the $200 needed for a new 6?

The iPhone 5S: more than cromulent, it will embiggen your Edisonograph experience.

The iPhone 5s: more than cromulent, it will embiggen your Edisonograph experience.

Well, let’s start with the easy group: if you have an iPhone 4s, 4, or 3gs, yes. Yes, it’s time to upgrade. You’re going to enter a whole new world no matter what you get (I’ve been there, and I’ve helped others upgrade who’ve said the same thing.) The difference is astounding just going from a 4s to a 5s. Oh, and you 4 and 3gs people haven’t met Siri yet!

If you have an older phone and don’t want to spend a lot, upgrading to the 5s is a good move. The 5s will still be supported for at least another three years, possibly four. It’s very powerful and capable. And it has an excellent camera.

(Note: DO NOT upgrade to a 5c. Someone may offer you one for free. It is not nearly as good as the 5s. I mean, obviously. It’s a whole bunch of letters earlier in the alphabet!)

Here’s another cool thing: If you go into an Apple Store with your old iPhone – even an old 3gs – if it’s in good condition, they’ll give you an Apple Gift Card for its trade in value on the spot, which you can turn around and use against the price of your new phone right there! Now, 3gs’s are a little iffy, maybe $20 or so, 4’s might get you $30 or more, 4s’s might get you into the $50-ish range, and on up. So suddenly the cost of a new 5s becomes a lot less than $100. You can usually get them to give you a trade in price range for your model over the phone, but they’ll have to look your device over in person to give you an exact price. Apple Store employees do not work on commission. It is okay to ask questions and leave.

If you have an older phone, or an iPhone 5 or 5c, and are not a starving actor or do have access to a rich uncle, then go ahead and spend $200 to get the 6. It’s got a gorgeous screen, an even better camera, it’s super-fast, and it will be supported for quite a while. I personally am not a fan of large cell phones. Didn’t we spend the ’00’s constantly making them smaller? Still, it’s quite a machine.