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As posted on Now is the absolute worst time to buy an iPhone

Now is the absolute worst time to buy an iPhone

Image: Lili Sams/Mashable

Apple is about to commit infanticide on the iPhone 7.

The device—which is great, and just a few months old—will likely be blown to unrecyclable smithereens by the upcoming iPhone 8, if rumors are any indication. Sure, it’s always true that a shiny new iPhone’s just around the corner, but there’s reason to believe the next iteration of Apple’s iconic gadget will be such a substantial leap forward that you’d be foolish to invest in a device now.

Here’s the big thing: A report in the Wall Street Journal Tuesday indicated that Apple will dump the Lightning port on the iPhone 8, replacing it with USB-C. In layman’s terms, the cords you currently use to power your phone or listen to music will be rendered useless, doomed to haunt your junk drawer or some far-off landfill forevermore.

Like most “innovations” from Apple nowadays, there’s precedent for this.

The iPhone 4 used a 30-pin connector.

The iPhone 4 used a 30-pin connector.

Image: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Before the iPhone 5 launched in 2012, the devices used a 30-pin connector that matched the iPod’s. It was a wider, clunkier thing than the Lightning port iPhones use today. Its death was far from total: So many third-party gadgets (like the ubiquitous iHome) used that connector, so adapters were sold to keep consumers mollified—and clunky old speakers out of the garbage can.

You may still see connectors on older equipment at the gym—now rendered somewhat obsolete because Apple switched to a new type of cord five years ago—or on the clock radio in hotel rooms. They’re bound to frustrate anyone who’s got an iPhone from the past five years.

But there’s good news: A switch to USB-C would bring Apple into an established ecosystem, theoretically inoculating us all against such a messy turnover. (There are already dongles aplenty for USB-C devices, and gadgets like the new MacBook Pro have already switched to the standard.)  

That’s also why now’s a perilous time to buy an iPhone: Lightning is an Apple-specific technology, appearing to be on death’s doorstep. If the iPhone 8 launches with USB-C, you’ll find yourself locked into an old format with dwindling support, unable to work easily with newer third-party equipment.

And that’d suck.

What if the iPhone 8 doesn’t use USB-C?

We’re trusting the Journal with a lot here, but even if it’s wrong about the new iPhone switching to USB-C, buying a new one right now is a crummy idea.

The iPhone 7 is solid, but it also has a lot— too much, really—in common with the iPhone 6S. It was clearly a half-step, one shuffled out the door, because it’s tradition to release a new iPhone every single year, necessary or not.

Everything we’ve heard about the iPhone 8 suggests it’ll be a major upgrade: It may have a curved front with a bright OLED screen, improved battery life, wireless charging and a front-facing 3D sensor that’ll help the device recognize your face and unlock without a password.

If you must upgrade your device this year, wait. You’ll kick yourself if you buy a shiny iPhone 7, only for it to transform suddenly into a boring black slab when Apple launches a feature-stuffed new flagship.

It’s a sad fact that such intrinsically magical devices can be pushed into the dustbin when something new comes along. But so it goes: Don’t fall into the trap this year.

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