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iPhone 12 is almost here, which means now is the worst time to buy a new iPhone

Yes, you should wait. We have officially entered into the "don't buy a new iPhone unless you absolutely need it" zone.

Patrick Holland Managing Editor
Patrick Holland has been a phone reviewer for CNET since 2016. He is a former theater director who occasionally makes short films. Patrick has an eye for photography and a passion for everything mobile. He is a colorful raconteur who will guide you through the ever-changing, fast-paced world of phones, especially the iPhone and iOS. He used to co-host CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast and interviewed guests like Jeff Goldblum, Alfre Woodard, Stephen Merchant, Sam Jay, Edgar Wright and Roy Wood Jr.
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  • Patrick's play The Cowboy is included in the Best American Short Plays 2011-12 anthology. He co-wrote and starred in the short film Baden Krunk that won the Best Wisconsin Short Film award at the Milwaukee Short Film Festival.
Patrick Holland
3 min read

We'll find out on Oct. 13 whether or not this concept rendering of the iPhone 12 Pro from the YouTube channel ConceptsiPhone is accurate.


It's official! Apple is hosting its next event on Oct. 13. Here's how to watch Tuesday's virtual event live. This event should be all about the new iPhone, which rumors say will be called the iPhone 12. With the event only a day away, we are firmly in the "don't buy a new iPhone unless you absolutely need it" zone. A new, massive leak late last week just hinted at the possible prices of the iPhone 12 lineup, which might also sway your opinion.

Apple usually announces new iPhones at the beginning of September. And while the company definitely held an event last month, it was to announce the Apple Watch 6 and SE as well as the new iPad and iPad Air. The October event will likely launch the iPhone 12 and its siblings, including an iPhone 12 Mini.

Read more: iPhone 12 wish list: 5 features I wish Apple would copy from Samsung

Even if you aren't intending to buy an iPhone 12, it's a good idea to delay the purchase of a new iPhone. New iPhones mean that there will be discounts and clearance prices on old models and if you time it right, you could actually score a pretty good deal.

iPhone 12 prices will be cheaper, more expensive, exactly the same

There are four new iPhone models expected. Just like the iPhone 11 generation, there will likely be an iPhone 12, 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max alongside a smaller phone called the iPhone 12 Mini. Prices for the new iPhones are expected to stay the same, be more expensive and be cheaper. Sounds confusing, but let me explain.

Currently the base iPhone 11 costs $699, the base 11 Pro costs $999 and the base 11 Pro Max costs $1,099. The new iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max are likely to stay at the exact same price as their older iPhone 11 counterparts. Meaning if you intended to buy an 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max, in about a week, you should be able to snag an iPhone 12 Pro or 12 Pro Max for the exact same price.

Read more: What will iPhone 12 look like? All the design clues, from screen size to colors

The iPhone 12 Mini is expected to cost $649 (that's $50 cheaper than the iPhone 11) and the iPhone 12 is likely to come in at $749 (that's $50 more than the 11). These prices, however, are not quite supported by the latest leak.

Watch this: Apple event confirmed for Oct. 13, Facebook and Twitter block Trump posts

iPhone 11 should drop in price

For years, Apple has kept the previous year's models around and sold them at a discount. Currently you can get 2018's iPhone XR for $599. After the iPhone 12 event, there is a good chance that Apple may keep the iPhone 11 around and drop its price to $599.

As far as the iPhone 11 Pro, it's harder to tell if Apple will keep selling it or the iPhone 11 Pro Max after the new iPhones are announced. When the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro were announced last year, the company stopped selling the iPhone XS or XS Max .

'But I just bought a new iPhone' or 'I need to buy a new iPhone now'

There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying a new iPhone right now. If you have a broken phone and need a new one, don't wait for Apple to announce new iPhones. That said, Apple's typical return window is 14 days. Usually (this isn't always the case) Apple extends that return window to 30 days when a new product/updated product is announced. Meaning, if you just bought an iPhone 11 for $699, and Apple starts selling them for $599, you can get that $100 back or return the phone outright. Be warned that if you opened a new line with a carrier and are returning a phone, you'll need to check with them about canceling the new line.

Also, if you got your iPhone through a carrier or non-Apple retail store, find out what their return policies are.

The iPhone SE is the exception

Earlier this year, Apple announced the $399 iPhone SE. And it's highly unlikely that Apple will be announcing a new iPhone SE next week. That said, if you do buy an iPhone SE directly from Apple and a new version is announced, you are still in that 14-day return window and should be fine.

The 2020 iPhone SE shines with classic Apple styling

See all photos

For more about the iPhone 12 and everything we're expecting read CNET's iPhone 12 rumor round up.