For Some, iPhone 15 Is Worth Going Into Debt


Many smartphone users around the world grew excited to test out the newest iPhone after Apple unveiled it last week. But while the $799 starting price for the iPhone 15’s base model might give some users pause before they rush to upgrade their phones, one expert told Newsweek why many are willing to do so.

The new iPhone 15 is officially on sale as of Friday. Apple’s store on Fifth Avenue in New York City was hectic Friday morning as employees bustled through the space while assisting customers, according to video shared online by CNBC.

The new iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are displayed during an Apple event on September 12, 2023, in Cupertino, California. About one in five Americans have indicated they would be willing to accumulate debt in order to purchase the newest iPhone, according to a recent WalletHub survey.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Apple CEO Tim Cook was at the store when it opened to mark the iPhone 15’s official release. The company’s latest line of products has “never been more essential,” Cook said Friday on X, formerly Twitter.

The day after the iPhone 15’s September 12 unveiling, personal finance company WalletHub released the results of a survey that looked at how Americans felt about spending when it came to new iPhones:

  • Just over one in five respondents—21 percent—told WalletHub researchers it would be “worth” it to accumulate credit card debt in order to purchase the newest iPhone.
  • What’s more, 37 percent of all Americans said they do plan to purchase the newest model,
  • and 62 percent said it’s preferable to pay for a new phone all at once instead of paying down the price in month-by-month installments.

“People are willing to go into debt for a new iPhone because they’re loyal to the brand,” WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez told Newsweek via email. “Many want an upgrade, however small, because the company’s marketing regarding new features is incredibly compelling.”

In addition to the iPhone 15’s base model, Apple is selling the iPhone 15 Plus for $899, the iPhone 15 Pro for $999, and the iPhone 15 Pro Max for $1,199. Apple has said its new iPhones are the lightest produced so far. They feature camera upgrades, a new USB-C connector and gaming improvements, among other features.

Despite the products’ listing prices, there are strategies current iPhone users can deploy to save money. Some may choose to pay off the smartphone’s cost by paying in installments, rather than all at once. There is a “big number” of Americans considering this option, Gonzalez said.

Others who have older iPhone models can trade their devices in to get money off the newer smartphone, though this option is only available for people who have an iPhone 11 or a later model, according to Apple’s website. Those who use this upgrade option could qualify for credit between $200 and $650.

Purchasing an iPhone outright or upgrading to the newest model doesn’t have to involve accumulating debt, Gonzalez said. Instead, people can avoid doing so “by choosing a cell phone plan that fits your financial needs,” she said. “One trick is to crunch the numbers with a cell phone plan calculator and see which option works best for you.”

About 90 percent of the U.S. population had access to a smartphone last year, according to Statista data, which also estimated 48.7 percent of all U.S. smartphone users in 2022 were using iPhones. Statista researchers have predicted 364.2 million people in the U.S. will be using smartphones by 2040.


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