I love my Apple tech, but I’ve got to admit that it’s getting more complicated to decide exactly which features and options to buy these days. Take my new iPhone… Yes, I’m now the proud owner of a silver iPhone XS Max.
But that virtual applause isn’t for my choice to get Apple’s latest and greatest device. It’s more about the fact that I finally made it through my decision tree!
If you’ve been delaying your own purchase, because there are so many pieces to the iPhone decision-making process, perhaps you’ll find the details of my recent Apple Store shopping experience helpful…
Advantages of an Unlocked iPhone
My Apple Genius at the Apple Store told me that buying my iPhone XS Max outright from Apple would enabled me to get an unlocked iPhone and avoid a $30 AT&T (upgrade?) charge.
(So, there’s some upside to an all-in purchase vs. monthly payments with 0% interest.)
But perhaps more importantly, an unlocked iPhone provides more flexibility down the line should you want to switch carriers.
Shopping note: If you go with the iPhone Upgrade Program, you’ll also get an unlocked iPhone.
- I bought an unlocked iPhone.
(My Apple Genius simply popped my AT&T SIM Card out of my old iPhone 6 Plus and inserted it into my iPhone XS Max.)
Theft and Loss Protection
I’ve always attached AppleCare+ to all of my Apple products. Why quibble over the extra cost if you’re already spending so much money? You want to protect your expensive Apple gear!
Have I ever used AppleCare+? Yep.
But AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss?
Another hundred bucks adds loss and theft protection to the plan.
That’s great, right?
If you end up walking into an Apple Store without your iPhone and a sad tale of loss, there’s a $269 replacement fee (deductible) for a new iPhone XS Max. You pay the deductible instead of the cost of a whole new iPhone.
That’s $269 plus the original $100 in the plan.
So, it’s essentially a $369 insurance plan against loss.
Is that a good deal?
Well, I guess that depends on the odds of your iPhone XS Max leaving you over the next two years.
I’m hoping not to attract any attention from the evil ‘Fates of Bad iPhone Luck’ by talking about this.
- I added AppleCare+ for $199 instead of the $299 AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss option.
Let’s move on…
256GB of Memory
Look, I know I agonized over this a particular topic when the iPhone XS Max first came out… and I pledged that I would go all in with the 512GB model.
The most storage… the greatest ability to shoot and hold onto 4K video content. More is always better, right?
The truth is I quickly started to struggle with my choice.
And the simple reason is cost. I had difficulty justifying to myself the extra $200 to supersize to 512GB. These iPhones are just so expensive. You’ve got to draw the line somewhere.
(You’ll notice I’m not even mentioning iPhone pricing. If you’ve done any research, I’m sure you know how much they cost.)
I questioned my Apple Genius on the 256GB vs 512GB choice. He agreed that more people have gone with the smaller capacity. Then, he said, “But if you never want to worry about your storage, then go with 512GB.
Ironically, that’s what sealed it for me… but not how you’d think.
Here’s my truth… if you’re planning to capture 4K videos of your family, you’re eventually going to run out of storage, no matter the capacity. It’s just a matter of when.
And it’s actually more important to have a media management plan that forces you to offload and organize your content rather than let it sit gathering digital dust in your iPhone’s massive internal storage.
- Yes, I changed my mind… and went with the 256GB model.
Of course I wanted a screen protector for my new iPhone…
Sure, there are several out there you can choose between. But that will send you down another decision rabbit hole.
The Apple Store sells Belkin InvisiGlass screen protectors for $39.95. And an Apple Genius professionally will install it for you.
I’d say that’s totally worth it…
You’ve got a perfectly-positioned screen protector and no worries.
- I went with Belkin InvisiGlass and professional installation.
I’m not exactly sure why I’ve covered up all of my previous iPhones with black cases that obscured all of the iPhone’s design beauty. Perhaps that wasn’t an such important factor to me, and protection was.
With my new silver iPhone XS Max, I suddenly wanted to retain the cool silver edging. So, after I left the Apple Store, I shopped for a clear case and landed on OtterBox’s Symmetry Clear Series Case for $49.95.
(You can find it for less online… D’oh!!)
It took a little work to pop my iPhone into the Symmetry case, but once the job was done, I felt my new companion was properly prepared to face its new life with me…
I’ve been a big fan of OtterBox over the years, and even though the Symmetry design is more minimalistic than the typical OtterBox, I feel comfortable that my new iPhone is plenty safe.
- I selected the OtterBox Symmetry Clear Case.
(Savings Alert: It’s $28.56 on Amazon Prime.)
One usability note:
My iPhone in its Symmetry Clear Case is a little slippery on smooth surfaces when you rest it on its plastic back. But if you flip the iPhone over so the screen faces down, the Symmetry’s rubbery front edges provide much better grip.
And a note about OtterBox…
The Apple Store I visited carried a couple OtterBox models (not the Symmetry). Apple and OtterBox is an interesting business relationship that I think is great from a consumer perspective…
Why Not an iPhone XR?
I’ve read a lot of great reviews about the iPhone XR.
Why didn’t I just go that way?
(It would have surely saved me a lot of money…)
…I wanted the advanced camera capability of the XS line with the 2X optical zoom. I believe that punch-in feature without pixel loss really offers value. I also craved the more advanced portrait-mode ‘background blur’ muscle of the XS line. For example…
These features should enable my new iPhone to better handle more of my day-to-day photography opportunities when I’m not carrying another camera with me.
In my eternal quest to capture great photos of family and friends, I’ll take all of the help I can get!
Cutting Edge for Now…
So that’s my story that put a new iPhone XS Max in my pocket. I hope it helps to simplify your own decision-making process, because I expect you really don’t want to delay.
Every day that passes is a day closer to next September when your new iPhone becomes last year’s iPhone.
If you’re going to go for it, that time is now.