Unless you were stuck up a mountain or locked in a hermetically-sealed room to avoid catching Zika, you probably noticed that Apple just announced their latest iPhone. And, as we explain below the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus certainly come packed with plenty of drool-worthy new features forcing you to look at your current smartphone with thinly-veiled disappointment.
So is it little wonder that you’re desperate to get one when they hit Singapore’s shores on September 16? The one stumbling block? At $1,048 for the 32GB iPhone 7 and $1,248 32GB for the iPhone 7 Plus we’re not talking small change, which makes longer-term telco deals which bundle in a phone as part of the deal seem that much more attractive. But wait, before you sign your life away read on for a compelling argument that might convince you to ditch that mobile phone contract for good.
1. The iPhone 7 is a pretty smart smartphone
In typical style, Apple’s Tim Cook had plenty to show off at the Billy Graham Civic Auditorium, a new Apple Watch Series 2, the Apple HomeKit and the new iOS 10 were all intriguing announcements, but the star of the show (or should we say stars) was undoubtedly the next generation iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. There’s plenty to get excited about but here are the top line features to have you lusting after Apple’s latest object of desire.
For starters, it’s got a big boost under the hood, with a brighter than ever 4.7in Retina HD display that’s powered by the A10 Fusion chip. In layman’s terms that means it has a better-looking, more realistic screen, runs faster and perhaps most importantly, promises a much longer battery life.
The design has also undergone a pretty big overhaul. As we had all guessed Apple went ahead and took out the 3.5mm headphone jack. While that does force us all to plump for their new AirPod wireless headphones, it did allow them to create an iPhone that's slimmer, simpler, and finally, water and dust-resistant.
The icing on the cake? The camera has also got a big upgrade with an improved 12MP camera with optical image stabilization and a 7MP front-facing camera.
And if you really want to push the boat out on the camera front then you might want to plump for the 5.5in iPhone 7 Plus, which has an additional dual camera system that offers 2x optical zoom and up to 10x digital zoom for photos. Oh and it also boasts an even bigger battery.
What all this means is you’re now suffering a great deal of phone envy, right?
2. You’re probably going to upgrade next year
Like death and taxes the one thing you can be 100% sure of is that Tim Cook and chums are not done creating with the iPhone 7. Apple’s motto might be Think Different but they aren’t totally crazy. While this new iPhone might be amazing, they know they can’t stand still and they can’t relax in the billion-dollar business of selling handsets.
The only way they can do that is by making a better iPhone and releasing it to typical fanfare this time next year. And, while you might be 100% convinced that the iPhone 7 is all you'll ever need, we all know that’s just not true. In fact, we give it about a month before we start to hear rumours about the amazing features we’ll see with the iPhone 8.
What’s more Apple are no longer the only real choice among discerning smartphone connoisseurs, options like last year's Samsung Galaxy S7, the new OnePlus 3 and a rising horde of powerful and affordable devices coming out of China means the choices are vast. Who knows what these brands will be bringing out in the next twelve months? Maybe a new smartphone with enough oomph about it to turn even the most diehard Apple fans heads (trust us we’ve seen it happen). With that in mind do you really want to be stuck with the same smartphone for the next two years? With a contract-free plan there’s nothing stopping you switching over to the next big thing whenever you like.
3. It could actually work out cheaper
At first glance it’s a no brainer of a decision. Walk into your nearest store and hand over a big wad of dollar notes or pay in much, much smaller installments through a contract plan with your telco of choice. Who has that kind of cash to throw around? Well the fact is while a $700 iPhone might sound a whole lot more pocket-friendly it does also come with an obligation to pay at least $50+ a month for the next two years. Sure that includes 4GB a month of data but that $50 is also going towards the cost of the phone. On the other hand, the canny SIM-only shopper can actually get the same amount of data for around $28.
If you can scrape the bucks together to spend up front then you can save an average of over $300 on what you’d pay on a two year deal for an iPhone 6 from any of the big telcos (see table for example). While the price plans for the iPhone 7 (minimum $1048) have yet to be announced we do now the price of the handset is comparable to the iPhone 6 so it's a good litmus test of the kind of savings you could make. And even if you're not an Apple devotee the same kind of savings apply if you’re considering buying a top-end Android device, something worth considering when shopping for your next smartphone.
4. More Choice
The power is yours as a consumer, and no one is better than hunting out a bargain than a Singaporean. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find a true bargain when it comes to shopping for a shiny new iPhone 7 on a mobile contract with only three telcos to choose from. The minute you ditch the contract plan then your choices get infinitely more affordable.
The obvious alternative is to head online and visit the two big online retailers Amazon and Lazada who both sell individual handsets through their websites. A quick check last week saw Lazada selling a 128GB iPhone 6 handset for around SG$1188 which is pretty standard so you could imagine the new phones costing around that ball park. That deal comes with an 11 month guarantee and a free delivery to your front door if you opt for Economy Delivery.
If you really can’t face long queues and interacting with other human beings, Amazon is another good go to if you don’t mind waiting a little longer. Neat features include letting you monitor the prices of your favorite phones and the ability to compare specifications to see if you really need to shell out for that upgrade.
If you’re a traditionalist or just can’t wait, you can always go for the old school option and visit an actual shop (gasp). There are plenty of mobile stores selling handsets to choose from in Singapore but Moby Shop at Far East Plaza is popular among those in the know, thanks in large part to their realistic trade-in valuations.
Getting some money back off your old phone is not the only potential perk of going the no mobile contract route. Some handset retailers will actually allow you to set up installment plans where you don’t have to pay anything up front so you can get the phone of your dreams even if you’re experiencing a short term cash flow problem. For example, Singapore’s newest telco, Circles.Life have partnered up with UOB and DBS to let you get hold of a brand new iPhone 6 on a 6, 12 or 24 month interest-free installment plan that requires $0 upfront payment. What’s more they promise to deliver the new iPhone to your door in about three days with a SIM card as well.
The point is ditch the contract and you gain the power to shop around.
5. More Flexibility
One thing about a typical mobile contract plan is the fact that you have to agree all the terms when you sign up, locking you into a specific monthly data plan for the next two years. So you need to be pretty darn good at guestimating how much monthly data you use or how many minutes of calls you’re going to need in a year’s time to make sure you’re getting a plan that really does suit you, or more importantly suits future you.
The fact is that these days, it’s hard to justify why you should sign up for a two-year plan to get a phone. Especially now that all the main telcos all offer some kind of non-contract mobile plans. The newest kid on the block Circles.Life certainly looks like a winner when it comes to flexibility. While it’s monthly fee of S$28 for 6GB of data might initially seem a little expensive when compared like-for-like with Singtel, Starhub or M1, you do also get 100 minutes of talk time and free Caller IDas part of the deal.
The real highlight for us though is the fact you get free and unlimited WhatsApp calls and messaging, which is potentially a big (and often unknown) drain on data usage if you’re not on Wifi. Where Circles.Life also wins over the competition is there is no need to sign up for a fixed long term package. You can change your data plan every month if you like through their easy-to-use CirclesCare mobile app that also lets you track exactly what data you’ve used so far.
Adding more data isn’t prohibitive either, and is completely flexible giving you the option to choose in increments of 100MB, 250MB or 500MB at S$1, S$2 or S$3.50 respectively. You can also bump up your data limit by 1GB at S$6 per month
An added bonus, if you’re the annoyingly persuasive type with lots of friends, is the fact that you can earn an additional 200mb of free data for every person you refer to the service. You can obtain Unlimited Bonus data through referrals and there are lots of other ways you can earn extra data through their regular promotions.
Learn more about the benefits of a non-contract plan by visiting Circles.Life today.