First released in the fall of 2015, the iPhone 6s is in a unique position. As just one generation behind the current model, it’s running the same iOS 10 as the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Technically, it should be able to run all of your favorite apps, but as it nears its 2nd year, the 6s may struggle to keep up with your streaming. Rough handling can leave the iPhone incapable of performing like it once did straight out of the box. That leaves you with the big question: is it time to upgrade?
Normally, this is a relatively simple question to answer. You should upgrade to the latest handset as soon as you see your current phone’s performance start to decline. But we’re discovering 2017 isn’t a normal year. The White House and POTUS’ bizarre tweeting habits aside, 2017 puts iPhone users in an odd spot.
Though the iPhone 7 was released roughly a year ago, we can expect its successor in less than one year. The Cupertino-based company is set to release the iPhone 8 sometime before 2017 is over, and it’s promising to be a spectacular addition to the Apple line. So it should be, considering it’s meant to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the very first iPhone.
Back in 2007, Apple revolutionized smartphones by popularizing the touchscreen and introducing the concept of apps to the world. It’s hard to remember a time when our phones weren’t equipped with these applications. No Netflix icon promising a distraction from our long commute with the newest Orange is the New Black season. No GrubHub button offering convenient lunch options when the fridge is empty. And no fitness app boasting your latest step count.
Ten years on, we hope that Apple’s able to recreate that sense of wonder with the release of the 8. This excitement for what’s to come is what complicates matters for those with the 6s. With only a few months until the 8 is set for release, the question becomes whether or not to skip the 7 entirely in the upgrade to the 8.
What it comes down to is a handful of variables:
- how well you’ve maintained your 6s
- how well you can cope with frustrating phones mishaps
- how long we can expect to wait until the 8 actually hits shelves.
For a while there, it was assumed Apple would unleash its newest generation sometime in September to commemorate its 10th anniversary of the iPhone. Anyone who’s been following the rumors surrounding the 8’s upcoming design will know nothing about its release is cut and dry. Almost every other leak contradicts the other, and this aura of mystery is affecting its possible launch date. Now there are reports the fall may only see a limited quantity of the handset released, with the hard launch set for some time in the 4th quarter.
The difference of a few months may be the turning point for you. Even if you evaded the 6s’ notorious touch disease, struggling with a range of issues typical to smartphones of a certain age may push you over the edge. Lag times, bugs, and memory glitches can render your 6s useless. If so, it may be worth your time, money, and patience to upgrade to the 7.
If, on the other hand, you have the patience of a saint — or if you used your 6s with the utmost care, cautiously swapping out old iPhone decals with new iPhone 6s skins as the need arises — it’ll be a cinch to wait for the release of the 8. Even if this is the first time you’ve heard of iPhone 6s skins, they could still hold the answer to your dilemma.
Skins are an easy way to prolong the life of any handset, iPhone or otherwise, as it provides a layer of protective vinyl around its delicate aluminum and plastic chassis. It also adds considerable grip to this notoriously slick device, so it’s more likely to stay in your hands and away from the cold, hard ground. It doesn’t hurt that you can customize its look, opting for different colors and textures according to your mood.
As long as you aren’t dealing with annoying glitches every day, it won’t matter when Apple sets its official release date. Whether its September debut is accurate or a launch closer to the holidays is more likely, your cautious use of the phone will hold out. There’s no need to upgrade to the 7 or 7 Plus — not when early reports suggest the 10th anniversary handset will out-perform the relatively safe (and therefore boring) 7th generation.
So which one will it be? Upgrade now or wait for the 8 to debut. Only you know the answer.