Don't buy an iPhone right now. If you're interested in an iPhone, wait until 12 September.
Some readers might find that this seems like stating the blatantly obvious, but I'm writing because I've had genuine questions from folks who need to buy a phone now, and who like the iPhone.
Apple is widely expected to announce a new iPhone model on 12 September, with delivery starting 21 September – at least in the US, anyway. The UK and other countries may have to wait a bit longer, perhaps until early October. None of this is 100 per cent certain, of course, but it's what many reliable Apple watchers are saying. The new iPhone, which many people are calling the "iPhone 5" will probably have a bigger screen and a slimmer profile, with many other features rumoured.
But even if you don't want the new iPhone model, you should still wait. For the past few years when a new iPhone has come out, the up-front cost of the freshly demoted older model on a standard two year contract has been slashed. So while you might think you can get a good deal on the iPhone 4S now, it’s very likely there’ll be better deals after the new iPhone is launched. And ditto for the iPhone 4.
Of course, there will be a huge rush to buy new iPhones the moment they're announced, that goes without saying. If you want to be one of the first to get yours, keep a close eye on ITProPortal, as we’ll be bringing you a whole host of launch day coverage and updates on UK availability. Stay tuned, as they say…
What to do between now and launch day
So that leaves the question: If your phone is broken or damaged and you want a new iPhone, what should you do between now and the launch of the next-gen handset?
I suggest just getting the cheapest phone you can find, ideally with your current network so you don't have to deal with transferring your number. Later, you can flog the phone on eBay and try to get some of your money back, or keep it; it's always good to have a backup phone around. For once, it doesn't matter whether the phone is good or not. You won't be using it much.
Do you really want an iPhone?
If you're shopping for a phone this autumn, also be aware that we're likely to hear about the first Microsoft Windows Phone 8 devices early in September. Windows Phone 8 is a great looking, easy-to-use operating system, and it's worth considering.
There are also dozens of Android smartphones on the market, of course, and the Samsung Galaxy S III is a great example of a high-end offering. Check out our S III review here, where the device scored 9 out of 10. The iPhone is an excellent piece of hardware, but it's not the only smartphone out there – far from it.