Since 2008, I’ve had an iPhone 3gs, 4s, 5C, 5S, SE and 7. Many people would consider this to be “light” for an 11 year period. As I typed that list out, I couldn’t help but laugh. “Damn fool” went through my mind a couple of times. Think about the amount of money dropped on this!
The iPhone gs hit the market at $599 , The 4s at $649, the 5c and 5s at $649, 6s at $649 and 7 at $649. There is a little caveat, however. I only paid full price on the 7, 4s and 3gs. Back in 2017 I ended up losing my 7. I decided to dig my wide’s 5c out of the junk drawer and charge it up. Surprisingly, it worked fine – and held it’s battery charge pretty well. So I continued using it until the touch screen started failing. At that point I started reflecting on how to proceed. Should I go buy a new phone? I was using this used phone at a purchase price of free, and I had no objections to it’s use. I also REALLY liked the small form factor. The 7 felt bulky in my pocket, but the 5c wasn’t an issue and even felt “natural” in my hand, not occupying a lot of space. At that point in my life, I didn’t do phone gaming and I had shrugged off most social media platforms, so I did not have any high end applications to worry about.
Curious, I headed out to ebay and saw a 5s for $60 ( back in 2018). The 5s was a significant jump in the 5 lineup and had a higher end processor. I took a chance and and purchased it. I didn’t know it at the time, but Apple was still continuing to support the 5s and was pushing out the new OS versions. Up till a few months ago, I had received every OS update until Apple finally pulled the plug. That phone was my workhorse, it never let me down and had an amazing battery life. My only complaint was that I had purchased the 16gb version, and really needed more storage as I actively used my camera.
So, last week I was searching ebay again and found a floor model SE for sale for $70. The SE essentially has a better camera, better processor, 64 GB and still on the latest operating system. I jumped out on YouTube and could see that the tech community stress tested the SE under the new OS, and it performed quite well. At this point I wondered if I really needed the SE, but for just $70 that seemed like such a low price that the academic debate seemed pointless. The phone arrived in 4 days and it was flawless, no scratches and in the original box.
I started reflecting on my days of going to AT&T when I was eyeballing my contract days in anticipation of upgrading. What a damn fool I was! Caught in this marketing ecosystem, I was trying to keep pace with the cutting edge when in reality, I didn’t need any of that. This SE was released in 2016 and it’s the perfect phone for my needs. It’s small, it has a camera and it is quick to navigate. I don’t need 3 cameras, face ID or a 2nd mortgage to pay the phone bill. Old phone tech works just great! I hold this philosophy with other tech ( I used older laptops and SLRs), but for some reason this phone ecosystem keeps you locked in to upgrading devices, and I think its sometimes worth asking if the device upgrades really warrant a purchase. I think I’m actually enjoying my SE more that the 6s and 7 I had years back. I get just as much use out of it, the pictures are great and I paid 1/7th the price of a new phone I got 3 years ago. Perhaps as technology evolves, we’ll find that that the leaps get shorter and the cost to benefits ratio starts to narrow. I think that’s where I am at, wanting to keep costs down and acknowledging that leaps in the past ( Siri, voice-to-text, processing power, camera) are still good enough for me, and that the new leaps don’t warrant my money. Almost feels like a Financial Independence blog post!