iPhone XS Max Staying The Course (Financial/Math Based Logic - Read "NOT" Emotional)

Wide opeN

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Aug 27, 2010
1,635
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Georgia
First and Foremost, HAPPY iPhone LAUNCH DAY MacRumors Family!!!

I'd like for this thread to serve as a sounding board for those who "primarily" own their phones outright like myself.

With that said, I've resisted the wave of pre-order fury and now launch day excitement over iPhone 11 & iPhone 11 Pro & 11 Pro Max. Here's how I was able to do so...

Apple will give me $600 for my Xs Max, that leaves a balance of $650 owed + applicable taxes (7% where I live). So let's just say I did decide to upgrade and join the annual upgrade crowd. Assuming I continue to get the Max 256 and assuming pricing stays the same @ $1250; here's what my cost would look like annually:

$1250 x .07 = $87.50 for tax; $1250 - $600 for annual trade = $650 + $87.50 = $737.50 that I would need to come up with annually if I want to fully own and do hassle free trading through apple.

Now what I said I was going to do going forward was upgrade every 3 years at the earliest. So again assuming prices stay the same and I go with the same model Max 256 @ $1250; here's what I came up with for myself: $1250 x 1.07 = $1337.50/36 (months) = $37.15 that I'll put into a savings account every month going forward for all future iPhone purchases.

So I could upgrade 3 times in the next 3 years and pay $737.50 x 3 = $2212.50 overall OR Keep my iPhone Xs Max and pay $1337.50 in 2021/2022. That's a difference of $875 I save by being content with my current device. Not life changing money but it's almost the cost of another iPhone 11 Pro and definitely iPhone 11 plus a few accessories.

Again HAPPY iPhone LAUNCH DAY to those that have upgraded!!! However, for those of us on the fence or staying put, I just wanted to bring a financial snapshot into the equation so as to have a more well rounded discussion on whether to upgrade or not.
 

maerz001

macrumors 65816
Nov 2, 2010
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Don’t forget that you could also sell a 3 year old Max for maybe $400 in the future.
So that difference would be more like $1200.

Yes who would have thought that keeping devices longer saves a lot of money:)
 

Wide opeN

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Original poster
Aug 27, 2010
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Georgia
Don’t forget that you could also sell a 3 year old Max for maybe $400 in the future.
So that difference would be more like $1200.

Yes who would have thought that keeping devices longer saves a lot of money:)
I don't know about $400, but I get what you're saying. I just thought of any trade in after 3 years to be icing on the cake, but still more saving nonetheless!!!
 
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adam1080

macrumors regular
Mar 29, 2012
214
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I love when people get uber nerdy about these purchases and do the maths to prove it. Props.

I have purchased my last 4 iPhones outright. I also never trade them in or sell them... I give them to my parents who's last cellphone "purchase" was a free AT&T Nokia candy bar phone that I had to pry from their hands.

Now my mom has one of my old iPhones, her second iPad and an Apple Watch series 4 and loves them. My dad also uses another one of my iPhones. My X will go to one of them soon.

So maths be damned for me personally.
 

maerz001

macrumors 65816
Nov 2, 2010
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991
I love when people get uber nerdy about these purchases and do the maths to prove it. Props.

I have purchased my last 4 iPhones outright. I also never trade them in or sell them... I give them to my parents who's last cellphone "purchase" was a free AT&T Nokia candy bar phone that I had to pry from their hands.

Now my mom has one of my old iPhones, her second iPad and an Apple Watch series 4 and loves them. My dad also uses another one of my iPhones. My X will go to one of them soon.

So maths be damned for me personally.
Of course you should buy them all new 11s and not handing over your old socks;)
 

okieoutwest

macrumors member
Sep 14, 2019
49
48
california
Yes, happy LAUNCH DAY! I have been consuming a lot of reviews and I have to say this I have been feeling the itch to join in.

I like the way you've spelled this out. Let me offer another way I look at it - on a yearly cost basis. This has proven to also be helpful to compare to the new pricing marketing that Apple is really pushing hard through the Upgrade Program. (It finally all clicked for me when reading this editorial from Stratechery.) For the purposes of this simple exercise, I don't discount cost over time.

If you bought another phone today at $1250+tax, and held it until 2022 (3 years), the annual cost would be:
$1250*1.07/3 years = $446

If you used the iPhone Upgrade Program in order to upgrade every year, the first year's annual cost would be:
$60.33*12 months*1.07 = $775

If you kept upgrading after every 12 months, assuming prices stay flat, your total cost would be:
$775*3 = $2325

The difference between the iUP price and the outright price today after 3 years is $988!

Now, this assumes there's no trade-in happening, which I know isn't exactly your case but I wanted to generalize a little bit. Obviously starting with some trade-in value brings these figures a little closer together, but the trade-off is a one-time phone upgrade vs. a long-term annual cost hike.

This becomes more apparent if you consider owning phones for longer than 3 years.

4 years - $334 annual cost
5 years - $268 annual cost

When I did this kind of math for myself, I found it really compelling *not* to give in. I think that on a monthly basis, it can look appealing. "You mean for just $60/month I can have the latest new phone? $2/day? Pshh I spend $2 without thinking every day, let's just do it." But I think that seeing the yearly numbers has a different mental impact for most people.... which is obviously why it's not marketed that way so I'm not uncovering anything new here.

The last phone I bought outright was an iPhone 6, and after ~5 years of use and 2 battery swaps, my annual cost still came out to something around $180. In my case - and I know my logic won't appeal to everyone - but for me I am finding it hard to justify moving up to an annual cost that might be 2.5x higher. In 5 years my income hasn't remained flat but it certainly hasn't moved up 2.5x.
 

satchow

macrumors 6502
Jul 11, 2011
467
185
Good to see some fiscal responsibility in this forum. Too many people act like spending $1200 is no big deal to them. The average American can't afford a $500 emergency; spending $1200 on a phone every year is one of the reasons.
 

WingsAndBeer

macrumors member
May 24, 2019
91
121
Did an (almost) BOGO on iPhone 8 Plus 64GB - got one for $799 and another for $99 (full price tax on both was $147). $1045 paid over 2 years. These phones sold for $750 total on Swappa. So $1045-$750 = $295 net cost over 2 years for 2 brand new phones (at the time).

I did pay postpaid prices for service though. So yeah. Lol.
 
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Phone Junky

macrumors 65816
Oct 29, 2011
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When I did this kind of math for myself, I found it really compelling *not* to give in. I think that on a monthly basis, it can look appealing. "You mean for just $60/month I can have the latest new phone? $2/day? Pshh I spend $2 without thinking every day, let's just do it." But I think that seeing the yearly numbers has a different mental impact for most people.... which is obviously why it's not marketed that way so I'm not uncovering anything new here.
This is exactly why Apple has the IUP. It ropes in a huge amount of people that use the "a couple of bucks a day" logic. These kind of people don't pay any attention to the big picture.
 

psycho78

macrumors newbie
Oct 14, 2011
14
1
I bought the 6S plus new when it came out and I ended up keeping it till the beginning of this year. It started to get a little long in the tooth so a friend sold me his 7Plus used for $250... I then sold my 6S Plus for $230 lol

I figured I’d keep the 7 Plus for a year or two and upgrade but T-Mobile offered the trade in deal on the new 11 — they gave me $350 trade in, which is more than I paid for it in the first place! So I upgraded to a 128gb 11 for $385 and I’ll be spot with this phone for likely 3 years. Not a bad deal at the end of the day!
 
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okieoutwest

macrumors member
Sep 14, 2019
49
48
california
Good to see some fiscal responsibility in this forum. Too many people act like spending $1200 is no big deal to them. The average American can't afford a $500 emergency; spending $1200 on a phone every year is one of the reasons.
It's verging on predatory, imo, to use marketing that takes advantage of low financial literacy and low financial security. Obviously there are arguments about personal choice, but exercising choice should ideally require being fairly informed. I think I recall the statistic you're referring to, and it's from the Federal Reserve. 40% of all Americans can't afford $400.
 
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Wide opeN

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In the comparison picture on the front page the Silver iPhone Xs Max looks much better than the MG iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Very proud I resisted the pre-order hype and will be sticking with my beautiful Silver Xs Max 256GB for another year. As a matter of fact, I'm starting to think all 2018 iPhone's look better than iPhone 2019. That's just my opinion for now, as I haven't seen them in person yet.
 
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kfscoll

macrumors 65816
Nov 3, 2009
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It's verging on predatory, imo, to use marketing that takes advantage of low financial literacy and low financial security.
Predatory? It’s an interest-free loan! Even if you have the cash in hand to buy the phone, you’d be foolish not to take free money.
 

alpi123

macrumors 65816
Jun 18, 2014
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Don’t forget that you could also sell a 3 year old Max for maybe $400 in the future.
So that difference would be more like $1200.

Yes who would have thought that keeping devices longer saves a lot of money:)
$400 seems too low, $600-$800 in 2-3 years is the minimum for me, especially if it's good looking.
 

Oridus

macrumors 65816
Oct 8, 2012
1,031
916
I spend about $400 out of pocket every year on two new phones (myself and my wife). That’s $33/mo. There’s a ton of people who drink away $33 every other night, every weekend, or a few times a month. Or even people who have pets, a lot spend more than $33/mo in pet food, toys, amenities, and vet visits. There’s countless hobbies out there that cost more than $33/mo. Hell, I’ve spent more than $33 every single month on gas for my motorcycle on joy rides (non commuting), and nobody bats an eye. But tell them I buy new phones for myself and my wife every year, and people have acted like that’s completely irresponsible.

My $400 out of pocket after considering leverage on rewards credit cards and selling the previous year’s models. This is reason enough for me to buy every single year. $400 annually to enjoy new tech is a reasonably small price for a hobby. A healthy, safe hobby at that.
 

SHKLMRE

macrumors 6502
Nov 30, 2013
464
221
Pennsylvania
My upgrade plan is simple. I sold my 256gb XS Max for $850. I bought my new 11 Pro Max 256gb for $1,250. So my annual upgrade only cost me $400. It’s is great that we generally know Apple is gonna release the new phone every September... I can know when I need to have my upgrade money available.
 

aFlockaCgulz

Suspended
Aug 21, 2019
216
259
My upgrade plan is simple. I sold my 256gb XS Max for $850. I bought my new 11 Pro Max 256gb for $1,250. So my annual upgrade only cost me $400. It’s is great that we generally know Apple is gonna release the new phone every September... I can know when I need to have my upgrade money available.
no sales tax?
 
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CalmEnvy

macrumors 6502a
Feb 9, 2008
534
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Wife and I each have the XS Max and likely will be keeping it for another 2 years. Phone prices are just to expensive in Canada to upgrade every year. 11 Pro Max with tax is $1716.47. Done the math and it just doesn’t make sense to upgrade every year anymore. Every 2-3 years make more sense now.
 

Jimmy James

macrumors 601
Oct 26, 2008
4,780
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Magicland
Good to see some fiscal responsibility in this forum. Too many people act like spending $1200 is no big deal to them. The average American can't afford a $500 emergency; spending $1200 on a phone every year is one of the reasons.
I’m also concerned about the annual numbers thrown around when they talk about a few bucks a day. They’re also not convincing me of anything with a coffee analogy. I hear them suggesting that I quit coffee to come up with the money. Nope.
 

sam2428

macrumors 6502
Mar 8, 2011
400
141
Houston, TX
We live in a society / time of monthly memberships. People look at their monthly income and decide what hassle free “memberships” they want to spend their money on and the iUP program is no different. Just like leasing a car is more expensive in the long run, so is essentially leasing a phone for a year. But the trade off is that you always have new shiny tech.

I personally don’t do the iUP program but always take advantage of the 2 year interest free payments. I only upgraded to the 11 pro max this year because my Face ID sensor on my X stopped working 6 months ago and I value having a great camera in my pocket. (I do however prefer to lease my cars. Less hassle and worry imo).
 

darkside flow

macrumors 6502
Aug 11, 2010
473
101
Toronto
Depending on country you will also save on your monthly plan with BYOD.
Yes, this is my case. My plan is $60 if buy my phone outright or $120 if not. Traded in my xs max for $775, bought new phone for $1700, save $720 on my plan for the year. So it costs me $205 to upgrade my phone every year. 50 cents a day to have the newest phone basically.

Obviously I make “profit” if I don’t upgrade every year but what’s the fun in that. 😂
 
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