Thursday, April 4, 2013

My next phone – looks like it’s gonna be another iPhone

Seems like it's going to be yet another iPhone. That's means it's going to be my 3rd iPhone. Hopefully I will be able to get the one that's coming out this year as soon as it comes out. "Hopefully", because it all depends on what SoftBank have to say about upgrading my existing iPhone 4S. The current 2 year contract period - which is actually 26 months - is only going to end at the end of November. And the rumors are that the new iPhone is coming out in July. That's about 4 months before my contract period ends.

Wasn't that the same with 3GS to 4S upgrade?

Something similar happened when I got my iPhone 4S. There was a long way to go until the contract period for my iPhone 3GS was over, but at that time SoftBank launched a campaign to waive off the remaining contract months if I switched to the iPhone 4S straight away. I'm sure they did not do it for us. They possibly wanted to keep the existing customers loyal to SoftBank because KDDI was also getting the iPhone 4S. But it was a win for me. I hope they will come up with a similar campaign this time too.

Why do you need to upgrade your phone this soon?

Some people must be wondering why I wanna upgrade an iPhone 4S, which performs pretty well for most people. Two reasons.

  1. You can get the iPhone for free in Japan. At least, the base model is free. So why not get one while we can?
  2. Once my 2 year contract ends, SoftBank will renew the contract for another 2 years. If I need to get out of the contract, I have to pay a fine of JPY10,000.


If I renew the phone before the 2 years, the contract gets renewed for another 2 years. While I don’t have to pay for early termination – because there is no termination – I have to pay back the discount (Remember, the phone is free. That’s the discount.) otherwise we would have got if we used the phone for the complete 2 year period.

You can pay the full price of the phone up front, and that amount will be further deducted from your monthly payment.

The phone is not actually free, but you don’t feel like you are paying for it because they allocate the charges for the sub components in a cunning way.

However, what I’m not clear about is – because I’ve never needed to think about it – whether the amount you pay monthly, if the contract automatically got renewed is different in the following two cases.

1. If you paid for the phone upfront. The monthly payment will be lower in the first 2 years, but what happens after it gets renewed automatically without buying a new phone?

2. If you didn’t pay for the phone up front. The monthly payment will be higher than 1. above, but will is get lower or remain unchanged the 2nd time.

I need to check this before I buy the next phone. But knowing me, I won’t be sticking to just one phone for more than 2 years. I want to experience more new stuff.

Why Apple? Aren't there any better option?

Galaxy-S4-vs-iPhone-5-vs-HTC-One (1)

Now, you people must be thinking that I'm one of those iSheep who would worship Apple and follow all the rest of the Apple fanboys to the Apple Store to buy the shiny new toy. Well, NO! I don't want an iPhone, to begin with, but I don't have any choice. I have to stick with SoftBank, because all my friends have SoftBank. Otherwise we won't be able to enjoy free of charge calling and SMS at off-peak hours. (Wait.... only during off-peak hours? I don't know how the rest of the world operates, but peak hours for mobile networks begin at night. We are only charged between 9PM and 2AM (latter not sure) for calls and messages generated within the SoftBank network. )

So, I have to stick with SoftBank. The only phone worth getting from SoftBank is the iPhone. Rest of their line up is crap. They are mostly Android but none of the flagship models are offered. DoCoMo and KDDI offers good Android phones but I cannot take that route. I have to live within the SoftBank network. Besides, I don't really like Android. I would possibly stick to the iPhone even if SoftBank offered better Android Phones.

Don’t forget about the awesome customer support at Apple Stores. You can extend the warranty up to 2 years and they would replace the phones even in accidental damage, for a small price. You can do that up to two times. If the problem is not really a fault with the device, they would replace it free of charge.

I actually wanted a phone running Windows Phone 8, and I still do. Unfortunately no carrier is offering Windows Phone devices. I could get one from Expansys Japan and use my current iPhone4S' SIM in it but there are two problems with that approach.

  • If I don't use the correct APN, I would be heavily charged for data, even with this unlimited data package. Even if I use the correct one, there is nothing that prevents SoftBank from restricting that APN to IMEI numbers designated to only iPhones.
  • My current connection only supports 3G speeds. I definitely need LTE speeds. SoftBank's 3G speeds are very bad.

Unless SoftBank starts offering Windows Phone based solutions, my Windows Phone dream is not going to come true.

So basically you are going to get an iPhone 5S?

Yes. I don't see much issue with that except that I won't be able to Jailbreak or use any of the cool Jailbreak tweaks available on Cydia store. The amount of functionality these Jailbreak apps bring to the table is significant. They are what makes iOS useable for me. This means, my use experience won't be a 100% improvement with the next iPhone. But we are all expecting a UI overhaul with the next version of iOS and thanks to the constant "porting" of Jailbreak tweaks onto iOS will probably add few of the functionalities of the tweaks to iOS as they are of their own.


I'll probably preorder the phone as soon as it is available for preorder. I can cancel it at any time without incurring any charges. I even preordered the iPhone 5 hoping that they would give us an incentive to upgrade. That didn't happen, and the data charges were in fact more expensive - so I canceled the preorder.

First I will watch the keynote. :) Hopefully the iPhone 5S will be a significant upgrade over my iPhone 4S.

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