Want an iPhone 6s? Wait until Black Friday.(Read article summary)
If you're looking to upgrade to the 6s, our best advice is to wait. Black Friday is typically the best time of the year to get deals on iPhones, and you're probably not going to see many discounts on the shiny new phones right after they come out.
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past week, you'll have heard the news by now: the iPhone 6s is hitting stores September 25 and--don't freak out too much--but there's a pink option (or what Apple is affectionately calling "Rose Gold") available that's already pre-selling like crazy.
If you're looking to upgrade to the 6s, our best advice is to wait. Black Friday is typically the best time of the year to get deals on iPhones, and you're probably not going to see many discounts on the shiny new phones right after they come out. I'll say it again: if you're not waiting until Black Friday to get an iPhone 6s, you are literally throwing your money away. To underline my point, let's break down the Black Friday iPhone deals from years passed, shall we?
2013: iPhone 5c and 5s
Ah this takes me back. The release of the 5c and the 5s marked the first time Apple offered two different options, the cheaper colorful plastic 5c, and the sleek, more expensive metallic 5s. When they were first released on September 20, 2013, the 5c retailed for $99, and the 5s was $199. Once Black Friday sales were live, the prices dropped dramatically.
Walmart had by far the best deal on both: a 16 GB 5c went for $45 and included a $75 Walmart gift card--meaning some lucky Black Friday shoppers were essentially paid $35 to take home a brand new phone. For the 16 GB 5s, Walmart first knocked $10 off its base price of $199, and then threw in a $75 Walmart gift card with the purchase of a two-year contacts, which brought down the net cost of the phone to $114. Plus, trading in an old phone could get you up to $300, so many people got paid to upgrade--even to the 5s.
I doubt anyone who spent $99 on the 5c when it first came out was too pleased when they realized they could have saved that hundred bucks AND made a $35 profit if they'd just had the patience to wait a couple months.
2014: iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
When they came out last year, the iPhone 6 retailed at $199, the 6 Plus at $299 and the older 5s was reduced to $99. Come Black Friday, Walmart--again the champion of the Black Friday iPhone sale--was offering a $75 gift card with the purchase of a two-year contract and either the 16 GB 5s, which they were selling for a base price of $79 or the 16 GB iPhone 6, which was on sale for $179.
There were no sales on the 6 Plus, but there was an up to $200 gift card option on the table for trading in an old phone. At the end of the day, this meant the iPhone 5s was going for a net price $4, and the iPhone 6 had a net price of $104. If you traded in an old phone in good, working condition, you could easily get either one for free--plus a well-endowed Walmart gift card to boot.
2015: iPhone 6s and 6s Plus
This year, the Apple will be selling five varieties of the iPhone, ranging from the 5s to the 6s Plus. The 5s is currently free with a two-year contract, the 6 is $99, the 6 Plus is $199, the 6s is $199, and the 6s Plus is $299.
So what do we predict for Black Friday sales on these phones? With the 5s already free with most plans, I'd wager a bet we'll see some gift card deals at Walmart and Best Buy that will literally pay you to take it home. The iPhone 6 will likely be free (or VERY close to free) with a two-year contract and the gift card deals, and we'll probably see the 6 Plus and maybe even the 6s going for a net price of around $100. Save for an unprecedented Apple Store deal that gave 6 Plus shoppers a $50 gift card with their purchase, we didn't see many Black Friday deals on the phablet last year, so chances are the lowest we're gonna see the 6s Plus for sale this year will be for around $250, but if you utilize a store's trade-in option, getting the 6s Plus for a net price of $50 is certainly not outside the realm of possibility.
All this being said, if you MUST succumb to the call of the iPhone and pick it up next week...
I will say this one more time: you are wasting your money if you do this. You might as well take out $100 from the ATM and stuff it down the next sewer grate you pass. And yet I know many of you still have your heart set on getting the 6s the moment it's released, and if you do you, our tech editor Michael recommends checking out T-Mobile:
"Their Jump! On Demand plan will have the best deal for the 6s right off that bat," Michael says. "It's a limited time launch offer and in-store only. It basically cuts $7/month off the installment price making it less than Apple's installment plan price for the 16GB model and the lowest any carrier will offer it this soon to launch."
For those of you who don't want to be locked into owning this phone for 18 whole months, Apple is also offering a new iPhone Upgrade Program. If you enroll in this program, you'll get a new, unlocked phone every year that you can use with the carrier of your choice. The phone will be protected by AppleCare+, and instead of paying anything up front, you'll pay in monthly installments that start at $32.41/month for the 16 GB iPhone 6s:
This sounds objectively great until you realize how much 12 monthly payments adds up to be. The monthly price of the iPhone 6s, $32.41, multiplied by 12 is $388.92. If our predictions about Black Friday are correct, if you wait just two months, you will be able to get the same phone for about $288.92 less. If you know you're going to want a new iPhone when it comes out next year, or if you like the convenience of buying an unlocked phone, it's not a bad deal. But if you don't mind spending two years with your new iPhone, enrolling in the Upgrade Plan is just a flat-out waste of money.
Right now it might seem like Black Friday is a long way away, but it's going to come faster than you think. Hold off on buying your new iPhone, and you could save a ton of cash to use on holiday shopping when the big day finally arrives.
Let us know what you're planning to do in the comments, and make sure to check out all the Black Friday fun over at our sister site, Brad's Black Friday!
This article first appeared in Brad's Deals.