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Thanks, Apple: You saved me from an expensive mistake (buying an iPhone X)

Thanks, Apple: You saved me from an expensive mistake (buying an iPhone X)

October 27, 2017 / No Comments

Last night I did what many technology writers looking to keep themselves up to date with Apple’s products did — I set my alarm for 3 am, and prepared — no, steeled myself — for the anxiety of having to possibly wait a week or two to get the device and shelling out a lot of money.

For the last few years, I have repeatedly done the same thing. I’ve bought a new iPhone at full retail, and picked it up at my local Apple store in a week or so’s time.

Sometimes I’ve chosen the home delivery option, but I’ve gotten my equipment fast enough. It was never an issue. At the end of the year, I traded the phone into Amazon or Gazelle, and used that money to partially offset the cost of buying a new one.

This year, though, things turned out differently.

This year I decided to bypass the trade-in process (my wife’s 6S was getting long in the tooth so I gave her my 7 Plus) and I skipped over the iPhone 8.

I wanted the iPhone X.

Yeah, well so did everyone else. And based on many industry reports we all knew availability was going to be limited due to component manufacturing scale issues with this particular model.

There was never a guarantee you were going to reserve this $1100 phone. But I expected that if I got up at 3 am, and placed my order fairly quickly, and I bought the more expensive 256GB model, I’d probably have a good chance at getting one in a normally expected timeframe.

Here’s where things went awry. This time, I decided to enroll in Apple’s upgrade program.

Why? Well, first I heard a lot of good things about the upgrade program experience and having Applecare rolled into the entire SKU.

I’m not a typical smartphone user. I write about this stuff and I look at a lot of accessory products for the new phones. To stay current I replace my iPhone every year, and if you do the math, the price works out about the same as buying it full retail and getting maximum cash on the trade in a year later (assuming the phone is in perfect condition).

It’s leasing your smartphone. Like a car payment.

There is another important reason why I wanted to take advantage of this program for this purchase. My cell carrier is currently AT&T. Although I might not exercise the choice, I want to have the option of switching to Verizon.

You see, since the introduction of the iPhone 7, Apple changed the bill of materials for wireless baseband components in the device depending on carrier. It used to have only one modem chip across all models, Qualcomm’s.

But as the company has been embroiled in protracted litigation with Qualcomm, they now use two different modems, one for Verizon, and other for the other carriers, made by Intel.

Why is this particularly important? Well, if I am going to buy a Lamborghini of a smartphone I would like to be able to extract the maximum amount of performance possible. The “AT&T” model does not allow me to do that, for a number of technical reasons.

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By  for Tech Broiler

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