Do You Really Need The New iPhone?

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Of America’s many religious holidays, few generate as much fervor as New iPhone Day, the annual Special Event when Apple unveils the latest iteration of a thing millions of us now can’t live without. (Full disclosure: I’m typing this on a MacBook, in arm’s reach of an iPhone, an iPad, a set of AirPods and various dongles needed to charge and connect all this junk.)

The holiday is a bit weird this year, though. For starters, the coronavirus bumped the event back from its traditional September to next week. The delay may have just made investors even more amped; as Tae Kim notes, Apple’s stock-market multiple has jumped to nearly twice its long-term average, on hopes the new phones will scream off the shelves.

And that’s where the next bit of weirdness comes in: Apple is touting these new phones’ 5G wireless capabilities, and traders apparently think that will make them indispensable. But Tae points out 5G service is still spotty and lame throughout much of the country. Buying a 5G phone at this point might be kind of like buying a 4G phone a decade ago — a little too ahead of its time to be necessary. Visions are fine for the fervent, but maybe not so much for the wallet.

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