A Smart Man’s Guide to Buying the iPhone 4
iPhone 4 is no doubt the best piece of hardware this year (2010). Buying an iPhone on launch day can be a herculean task to say the least! People go to the extent of forming long lines and/or camping outside the stores. If you value time and if you want to save a quick buck, this guide is for you.
First and foremost, you should be aware of AT&T’s dirty tricks.
iPhone 4 buyers fall into 3 categories :
- Upgrade eligible
- Regular pricing
- No-commitment pricing
Upgrade Eligible :
Type in *639# from your AT&T phone and you will receive a free text informing you of upgrade eligibility. If eligible, you can grab the iPhone 4 for $199/$299 for 16/32GB iPhone 4. You will also have to pay an upgrade fee of $18. The worst part being a 2 year contract during which you should pay for the data plan every month. What’s even worse is the $325 ETF (Early Termination Fee). 2011 is the big LTE upgrade year where the next generation cellular communication is implemented in a large scale amongst most or all US carriers. You may be tempted to switch to a different carrier (pay ETF) or you WILL be tempted to get iPhone 4G which accommodates for 4G communications. You will then have to pay the early upgrade fee which is ridiculously expensive if you ask me!
Early Upgrade :
This is the worst category of amongst the three. $399/$499 for an iPhone even after you sign a 2 year contract! ETF still applies and so does the upgrade fee. I would strongly suggest you skip this option and get one at no-commitment pricing. This way you can get a free/better upgrade when eligible rather than paying a big chunk of cash for early upgrade.
No-Commitment Pricing (Currently unavailable in the US, will update when available):
This option may be a very good option. You retain the freedom of switching carriers, not having to pay an upgrade fee ($18/$36) and best of all you are not paying a high premium to get these benefits. In the case of a 16GB iPhone 4, it costs $400(Upgrade Eligible)/$200(Early Upgrade) more. Pricey but peace of mind. If you are like me and want to have the best phone in the market (Android/Windows 7 phones), then this option may be the best. iPhones are known for their resale value and iPhone 4 will fetch good $$$ once the unlock is released.
Following are the various channels where iPhone 4 can be bought :
- Apple (Online + Pre-order starting June 15th + In-store)
- AT&T (Online + Pre-order starting June 15th + In-store)
- BestBuy (Online + In-store)
- RadioShack (In-store)
- Walmart (Online + In-store)
Buying it online is the best bet since you will receive it on launch day not requiring you to waste your valuable time in lines outside the store or well and saves a trip to the store!
How about some cashback?
When it comes to iPhone purchases, not many vendors offer cashback.
You may try the following :
- Discover Card – ShopDiscover (5% cashback @ Apple.com)
- Bank of America – Add It Up (2% cashback @ Apple.com)
- BigCrumbs (1.6% cashback @ Apple.com) (Use any credit card and get credit card points/cashback in addition to BigCrumbs cashback)
While the cashback percentages are measly, they can give good returns if you buy an iPhone 4 at no-commitment prices. The best part being buying from the comfort of your home, saving a trip to the store, saving time and some cashback in return!