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Bad Apple: Why you should not buy the new iPhone

Apple addicts and admirers traded in hot cakes for breakfast bars and beds for concrete slabs to line the glass walls of Apple stores last Friday morning. Specs and laughs were exchanged between strangers while others nodded off, giving way to several hours of camping out.

The dried drool on their faces—worn with pride—was no doubt a testimony to their loyalty. They all gathered to get their hands on the Andy Warhol of smartphones, the Holy Grail: the iPhone 5s.

With 70 percent of college students owning smartphones and comScore reporting that 40 percent of smartphone users own iPhones, many of said campers were students. What those students failed to realize, however, is that they wasted their time and money.

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There are two things you must know before receiving my explanation for what many of you feel is an unorthodox opinion. First, this column isn’t an underhanded campaign for Android users (sorry, Galaxy fans). You’ll find it to be quite the opposite.

Second, I’ve been the proud parent of not one, not two but three generations of iPhones and, a little over a year ago, I added an iPad to the family. I’m sure the guardians of Apple’s golden gates have now revoked my membership. If anything, however, I hope what I’ve shared here makes my “blasphemy” more inviting. So, let’s jump right in!

You’re not getting the “bang for your buck.” Even if you manage to avoid the colossal $849 price tag of the 64 GB iPhone 5s by snagging a two-year contract, Apple’s latest prized cow is simply not worth it.

With a fancy fingerprint scanner, faster processor and some spiffy software additions, the 5s is indeed evolutionary but not revolutionary. And although it’s half the price of its peer, the 5c is simply a candy-coated version of the 4s.

To top this sundae off, iPhone owners can get Apple’s iOS7 for FREE. But this isn’t a review, so saturating the column with my opinion about specs isn’t necessary. The reality is that the average student can’t afford to buy the latest iPhone (or any new smartphone) on the market.

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Sure, you’ve got the money to buy it. Refunds just came in and our debit cards have suddenly become Black Cards. But can you afford it?

With Forbes.com reporting that “the average borrower will graduate $26,000 in the red,” can you spare $849, or a matrimonial two-year contract of roughly $1,200? How about the average $365 that Apple reports students use on apps per year?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released staggering numbers, reporting that student loan debt has reached an all-time high of $1.2 trillion. With such a weighty burden, can we really afford to give up our “outdated” phones for the younger, hotter and spiffier one? No. Not now, at least.

Students should own the latest and greatest smartphone. In fact, it is our generation that births many of the innovative features we get from these new devices. Smartphones are an education in themselves, leaving students more technologically literate. But our newfound knowledge won’t be of any use when we’re flipping burgers and stocking shelves to pay for our loans. So what do you do? You wait.

Apple is notorious for spoon-feeding its consumers. They put out two phones per year, one possessing all the proposed features and, the other, a more economically friendly version with watered-down features.

So, like clockwork, a year from last Friday, the next iPhone will hit stores and the cost of its predecessors will decrease. And, for those daredevils, eBay is a great place to purchase used phones.

You may not want to wait a year, and you don’t have to, but at least wait until the first wave of glitches is cleared up. Those campers outside of Apple’s store are the guinea pigs of Apple’s innovations.

Upgrades like the fingerprint scanner button and other hardware upgrades will undoubtedly have their issues and Apple will go back to the drawing board to figure out how they can make the next device better.

This is one of those situations where it is good to participate in the bystander effect. This logic stands true for Android users as well. What they get wrong in the first, they’ll get right in the next.

While it may take the willpower of Gandhi, students should keep the hundreds that they’d spend on the new iPhone in the bank.

There aren’t many things that produce a more gratifying feeling than cashing in on a good bargain, and if us students can begin phone-shopping more efficiently, our wallets will be thicker and our student loan bill will be slimmer.