Why you should wait a few months to buy the iPhone 5

If you can be patient, you stand to save money -- and perhaps a little sanity -- by delaying your purchase for a while.

Patience is a virtue, especially where the iPhone 5 is concerned.
Patience is a virtue, especially where the iPhone 5 is concerned. Apple

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that as of this morning, you can now preorder an iPhone 5 .

Don't do it.

Even if you've made up your mind that despite its lack of earth-shattering new features, you want Apple's new baby, you should think seriously about waiting a few months before adopting it. Here's why:

1. Cheap accessories aren't here -- yet.
You'll need some extras to go with that iPhone 5, most notably a case, a car charger, and perhaps a few dock adapters. Right now, only a smattering of higher-end vendors sell those accessories, and for decidedly higher-end retail prices.

For example, for the moment only Apple sells dock adapters, and for the obnoxiously steep price of $29 apiece . In a few months, however, third-party manufacturers should arrive with inexpensive alternatives.

Indeed, if you've ever shopped eBay for, say, an iPhone sync cable or ruggedized case, you know that such accessories can be had for a fraction of what they cost in an Apple store. The longer you wait, the less you'll end up spending on necessary extras.

2. Remember antennagate?
Shortly after the iPhone 4 shipped in mid-2010, users discovered a fairly significant problem with cellular reception : gripping the handset a certain way could interfere with its antenna.

The result was "antennagate," with Apple first denying the issue and then scrambling to deal with it. Eventually it all worked out, but what a frustrating few months those were.

It's a safe bet Apple made sure the iPhone 5 suffers from no antenna problems, but this model does bring plenty of new design elements to the table: a larger screen, new processor, different dock connector, and so on. The potential exists for some kind of hardware glitch to crop up.

And what would be better: to find out about it before you buy the phone or after? Let the early adopters field-test the 5; in a few months, you'll know for sure if everything is smooth sailing.

3. What if you hate the design?
Granted, the iPhone 5 is only a bit longer than previous models, but if you have short pockets, hey, that could prove to be a hassle.

Instead of buying it sight-unseen, wait until you've had a chance to pick up, prod, and pocket one. Chances are you'll have a friend or co-worker who early-adopted, or you can always head to a retail store that carries the 5. (Lots of luck getting anywhere near an Apple store for the next few weeks.)

Much has been made of the iPhone 5's thinner, lighter form factor, but until you get some hands-on time with it, you won't know for sure that it's right for you. It'll also give you the chance to see if it really lives up to the hype. Take it from me: buyer's remorse bites.

4. You'll be able to get it without a contract.
Not wild about the idea of yet another two-year contract with a carrier that's going to charge you $70/month minimum for the privilege? Wait a little while and you might be able to get the iPhone 5 contract-free -- and with cheaper monthly rates to boot.

Given how long it took for the iPhone 4 to reach no-contract carriers -- only this summer did companies like Cricket and Virgin Mobile finally get it -- you'd expect a similarly long wait for the iPhone 5.

As it turns out, however, Cricket will offer the iPhone 5 starting September 28 . And I suspect we'll be hearing a similar announcement from Virgin Mobile before too long. Sure, you'll pay more up front for the iPhone, but with monthly plans as low as $35, you stand to save big over the long run.

What do you think about all this? Do you agree it makes sense to wait a little while before pulling the trigger? Or are you like a kid on Christmas morning, unable to wait a second longer before tearing into the new toy? Share your thoughts in the comments.

While you're mulling it all over, check out CNET's review of the iPhone 5.

 

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