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iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, or neither: Which new iPhone should you buy?

Lex Friedman | Sept. 13, 2013
It all depends on your wants, needs and budget.

If you own an older iPhone
Upgrade, upgrade, upgrade. It's time to join the four-inch iPhone revolution, and it's time to accept that your old 30-pin iOS accessories are nearing the end of their lives. Yes, Apple is still selling the iPhone 4s (née iPhone 4S) as its low-end model, but it's a relic.

The performance of the new iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s will dramatically outshine the iPhone 4s's abilities. The updated phones aren't just zippier and larger-screened, they feature all kinds of benefits over your older iPhone: far better cameras, more iOS features enabled, support for newer apps, and so on.

Developers will likely focus their efforts on four-inch iPhones as those become more and more common. The leap from pre-four-inch iPhones to the iPhone 5s or 5c won't quite rival the impact of a leap from a dumbphone to an iPhone, but honestly, it's awfully close. Today, even if you've become accustomed to it, you spend a lot of time waiting for your iPhone—for apps to open, content to load, and so on. You'll spend a lot less time waiting and a lot more time doing with Apple's new hardware.

5s or 5c: Which iPhone is perfect for me?
So you're one of those who really should upgrade. Which new version of the iPhone 5 should you choose? Budget-conscious consumers shouldn't feel that they're settling for the iPhone 5c. If the $100 savings afforded by the $99 16GB iPhone 5c (compared to the $199 16GB iPhone 5s) is significant to your wallet, fret not: The original iPhone 5 was and remains an excellent phone, and the iPhone 5c is a lightly improved version of that device with a new, slicker look.

Though we've had limited hands-on time with the iPhone 5c, knowing what we know about the iPhone 5, it's easy to feel confident that the 5c will be a great phone.

I always recommend that folks spend as much as they can on their iPhones up front; you can never expand their storage, and no one's ever complained that their iPhone has too much storage space. Apps are getting larger, and photos and videos are addictive to shoot and gobble up and ever-increasing amount of gigabytes.

As an app addict and parent, I've concluded that 16GB isn't enough for my iPhone use. (You can check how much space all your apps and data are eating up on your current iPhone in the Settings app, under General > Usage.) You can spend $199 and get a 32GB iPhone 5c; an iPhone 5s with that much storage will cost you $299. And if you want 64GB of storage, the $399 iPhone 5s is your only option; there's no iPhone 5c offered with that much space.


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