If you're thinking of upgrading your old iPhone or making the switch from Android, there are plenty of models to tempt you. The iPhone 11 is a great balance of power and features, while the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max are the best of all worlds. Alternatively the iPhone SE is a great choice if you prefer something more compact. But hold fire, as now is most definitely the worst time to buy a new Apple smartphone.
In this article we explain why you should keep your credit card in your pocket for at least a month or two and avoid a serious case of buyer's remorse.
For a more general look at the timing of iPhone purchases, read When is the best time to buy an iPhone?
New iPhones are on their way
The simple reason why you need to keep your powder dry at the moment is that Apple is expected to release the iPhone 12 and its Pro companions in the next few weeks, so we're right on the cusp of the new arrivals.
Usually, Apple refreshes its smartphone lineup in early or mid-September, but the chaos that COVID-19 brought to the world this year has not only affected people's health, it's also proved hugely disruptive to the supply chain for manufacturing. This has led to reported delays with the iPhone 12, but as so much of Apple's revenue is dependent on the smartphone sector, we fully expect the company to move heaven and earth to see the 2020 models arrive as soon as possible.
Apple CFO Luca Maestri confirmed in July that the new iPhones wouldn't make the usual launch timing, but assured customers that the hindrance would only last for a couple of weeks, which means we're confident that the latest models will make their debut by mid-October.
In fact the money is on Apple holding an iPhone launch event on 13 October. Reports suggest that some of the new iPhones will launch soon after that event, with other models being delayed until November.
Should I buy the iPhone 11 or 11 Pro?
While there are many good reasons for picking up one of the current flagship handsets, as you can see from our glowing reviews of the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, the truth is that those models are now nearly a year old, while retaining the high prices they had when brand-new.
If you're going to spend the best part of £700/$700 for the standard iPhone or upwards of £1,000/$1,000 for the Pro devices, then you'll want to make sure that you're getting the very latest technology. Holding off on your purchase for a few weeks will ensure that you don't have the shine quickly wear off a new iPhone 11 when the iPhone 12 arrives with funky additional features a fortnight later.
Rumours are already circulating that the iPhone 12 will come with an updated design along the lines of the iPad Pro, bringing back the classic squarer edges that last appeared on the iPhone 5 and original iPhone SE. There are also strong indications that new screen sizes will be available, all of which will feature OLED displays.
Add this to the usual improvements in cameras, processors and the expected introduction of 5G technology, and we think you'll be kicking yourself if you buy a full-priced iPhone 11 now.
For a more detailed look at how the current and imminent models compare, take a look at iPhone 12 vs iPhone 11.
We discuss when the best time to buy an iPhone is here.
Should I buy the iPhone SE?
You might think you are safe to buy the iPhone SE since it only launched in March 2020. The iPhone SE (2020) is a great handset, with many of the features of the iPhone 11 series in a more compact package.
But the rumours suggest that there will be a new smaller iPhone coming in the form of the iPhone 12 mini. If your main reason for choosing the iPhone SE was a preference for a smaller handset then we strongly recommend that you wait a few more weeks.
If however you are a fan of the SE design because it features a Home button and Touch ID, then by all means go ahead and make your purchase.
If you're interested in what the future holds for Apple's most affordable smartphone and when its replacement will arrive, take a look at our roundup of the latest rumours on the iPhone SE 3.
Waiting will save you money
Even if you don't think you will be rushing out to buy the new iPhones we still suggest that you should wait a few more weeks.
Inevitably, when the iPhone 12 and new Pro models arrive, shops will need to sell off their stock iPhone 11 and 11 Pro handsets as they will no longer command the same levels of interest. This means that you should be able to pick up a bargain if you shop around.
Of course, you'll never see an iPhone fire sale, but it's perfectly reasonable to expect to find the older units available for £100/$100 less once they are replaced by the 2020 upgrades.
It's also feasible that Apple itself will drop the prices of the older models. For example in 2019 Apple reduced the price of the iPhone XR from £749/$749 to £629/$599. So wait a month and potentially save more than £100/$100.
We'd also heartily recommend visiting the Apple Refurbished store as this tends to mainly feature iPhones that are no longer in production, which will most likely be the case with the iPhone 11 and its brethren.
Talking to your mobile provider shortly after the new models arrive could also see you being offered contracts far more favourable that you'll get at the moment. And with Black Friday approaching you can expect to see prices fall on contracts.
If you're happy to go down the second-hand route, then just after the launch of the new models will be an excellent time to shop for the iPhone 11, as some people sell them off to fund the purchase of the latest model. The main advantage of doing this now, apart from saving money, is that you know the device in question will only be a year old, so the battery should still be in good shape.
If you want to understand the differences between the 2019 models, take a look at our iPhone 11 vs 11 Pro vs 11 Pro Max comparison review.