Next month, Apple is expected to announce its new line of iPhones. When it does, you should buy one if you're planning on upgrading any time soon, because there's a good chance that if you wait, that same iPhone will be more expensive by the end of the year.
That's because the Trump administration announced late Tuesday that it plans to delay parts of the $300 billion in tariffs it's planned to impose on some items starting September 1, including iPhones, until December 15. The move is likely designed to ease the pain of additional taxes which could raise the prices on popular items during the holiday shopping season.
After that, it's hard to know what might happen, which means your best move might be to pull the trigger and buy a new phone sooner rather than later.
Of course, Apple and other companies affected by these tariffs are more than happy to have you upgrade ahead of December 15 since that happens to coincide with their busiest shopping period anyway.
Prime Buying Season
Tech companies like Apple have been asking the U.S. Department of Commerce to exempt their products, which are heavily dependent on parts made in China and assembly factories located there as well.
This move seems like a nod in the direction that the government isn't interested in jeopardizing sales of high-priced electronics during the year's most important buying season.
In addition to Apple's iPhones, other items--such as laptops and tablets, wired headphones, keyboards, and TV set-top boxes--are included in the tariff delay. Considering that many brands are also running sales right now, as students approach the beginning of school, this is probably the best possible time to make a new tech purchase.
Then again, it would be understandable if you're hesitant to pull the trigger based on the underwhelming rumors about this year's iPhone models. In fact, most experts agree that next year's devices--with the addition of 5G--are likely to be a far more substantial upgrade from the current crop.
Of course, that's no guarantee, and as of today, 5G is still limited to only a few areas. It's hard to say how widespread it will be by this time next year, when the first Apple devices are expected to include the faster wireless technology.
The Impact of Tariffs on Your Business
The uncertainty of an escalating trade war with China makes it harder to plan and prepare, which is a problem for your business if you're trying to decide when to make major tech purchases.
In fact, according to Steve Horwitz, the distinguished professor of free enterprise at Ball State University, "there are few things that the vast majority of economists agree on, and one of them is that tariffs and other restrictions on international trade are bad for all parties concerned. Delaying, and better yet abandoning, these tariffs is the right decision."
That being said, as an entrepreneur you have to make the best decision you can with the information you have right now. What you know right now is that there's a good chance the tech products you use on a daily basis are going to be more expensive to replace or upgrade next year.
Deciding When to Buy
If you're worried about missing out on whatever next year's iPhone offers, fortunately Apple and the major wireless carriers offer payment plans that let you upgrade to a new device on a regular basis. That can allow you to mitigate the risk you take from buying now.
Of course, waiting on a device which may or may not have 5G--a technology which may or may not even be available in your area--and which may or may not cost more because of tariffs seems like a lot of variables. That's why the better bet if you were planning to upgrade is to go ahead and just do it now.