One of the most common questions we get is: Is this a good time to buy an iPhone? There’s an easy answer, of course: If you need a new phone right now, then go ahead, we’re sure you’ll be happy with your purchase. If you don’t, there’s an easy rule: Apple typically releases new iPhones in September, so make your buying decision accordingly.
2021 was no exception—Apple put the iPhone 13 series up for sale on September 24. So, we know what you’re thinking: Is this a good time to buy an iPhone, or can I do better if I wait?
iPhone 13: Pricing and specs
Released: September 2021
The iPhone 13 comes in four varieties, just like the iPhone 12 did last year: iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max. They all include a new more powerful A15 processor, brighter displays, and improved camera hardware and software. The iPhone 14 Pro models go a step further with all-new camera sensors, including an ultra-wide camera that takes stunning up-close macro shots and a new 3x telephoto lens.
The Pro models also feature a 120Hz ProMotion display and a different version of the A15 processor with five GPU cores instead of four. They’re a significant leap over the non-Pro models, but also a bit more expensive ($729 and $829 vs $999 and $1,099).
iPhone 13: Why you should buy
The iPhone 13 isn’t going to get any cheaper anytime soon. It was just released, and all the carrier incentives to upgrade aren’t going anywhere. In other words, it’s the best iPhone (especially the iPhone 13 Pro) and the next one is almost a year away.
iPhone 13: Why you should wait
If you want the best iPhone, there isn’t a reason to wait. If you have an iPhone 12, however, there may be little reason to upgrade. At least, not enough to be worth the high price. That’s especially true if you’re going from the iPhone 12 (non-Pro) to the iPhone 13 (non-Pro). Just hold off for a year until the iPhone 14 is released. Your wallet will thank you.
Macworld recommends: BUY
The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max are in another league, with ProMotion, even longer battery life, a faster GPU, and a way better camera system than the iPhone 13. If you want the best, this is it. And even if you don’t, we recommend considering it—it’s that good.
The iPhone 13 is a fairly modest leap over the iPhone 12–for most everyday users the biggest change is improved battery life. We compare them both here and conclude that, for many users, you might as well get the iPhone 12 and save yourself $100. You’ll be happy with the iPhone 13, but you might be just as happy with the iPhone 12 for less.
Whichever model you desire–iPhone 12, iPhone 13, or iPhone 13 Pro–right now is the best time to buy one.
I have written professionally about technology for my entire adult professional life – over 20 years. I like to figure out how complicated technology works and explain it in a way anyone can understand.