Upgrade ▪ August 20

AAPL: 112.65

-2.36
Stock Chart

Apple releases new iPhones every September, guaranteeing that a massive number of old iPhones will be traded in or sold. The rush is about to start, dramatically changing the market for used iPhones, so I wanted to help you stay ahead of the curve and get the best deal possible. Having just sold my own iPhone 6 Plus to upgrade to a newer model, I have some strong opinions about your smartest options.

Below, I’ve put together a guide to some of the iPhone selling and trade-in options you should consider. There’s no single “right” answer, since some options trade greater convenience for lower prices, and others have higher prices but greater risks or hassles. You can choose the one that’s best for your needs, but whatever you do, make your choice before iPhone values begin to fall…

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Upgrade ▪ August 11

AAPL: 119.72

4.20
Stock Chart

Every time Apple is expected to release an S-series iPhone — the 3GS, the 4S, the 5s, and now the 6S — pundits rush to discount the value of each anticipated new feature, claiming that it won’t be enough to boost iPhone sales. Yet historically, every prediction of iPhone sales peaks or declines has been wrong: each iPhone, whether a big “tick” or small “tock” on Apple’s upgrade schedule, has outsold its predecessors. Even without form factor or screen changes, speed sold the iPhone 3GS, Siri boosted the 4S, and Touch ID and camera improvements helped the 5s. (In S years, improved distribution, new color options, and price and capacity tweaks have made a big difference, too.)

This week, analysts and pundits have co-opted my colleague Mark Gurman’s scoop that Force Touch on the iPhone 6S will be used for shortcuts across iOS, suggesting that Force Touch isn’t going to be exciting enough to make people upgrade. That’s true, but also so obvious as to be ridiculous: Apple certainly won’t pitch a pressure-sensitive screen as the iPhone 6S’s marquee new feature. Force Touch debuted in the Apple Watch, but it’s not even mentioned on the first Apple Watch page on Apple.com, instead showing up in the fifth paragraph of the “Technology” page. It’s similarly found only paragraphs down on the page of the 12″ MacBook where it made its Mac debut.

With the notable exception of the iPad mini 3, Apple never releases new devices with only one new feature to hook customers. Even a month before it’s announced, it’s a virtual certainty that the iPhone 6S will arrive with camera improvements and faster processors, most likely a new color option, and Force Touch as one of many small but nice additions. So long as Apple gets distribution and international pricing right, the iPhone 6S is going to do just fine…

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Upgrade ▪ August 10

AAPL: 115.52

0.39
Stock Chart

When I wrote a series of How-To guides showing how easy it was to swap old Mac hard disks for new solid state drives (SSDs), I focused on raw upgrades — slow mechanical drives for fast chip-based ones. The reason was simple: put an SSD in your Mac instead of the old hard disk, and you’ll be blown away by the speed increases. But as several readers have noted, there is another way to add an SSD to your Mac: you can keep your old hard drive, and instead replace the Mac’s CD/DVD optical drive, also known as a SuperDrive.

Swapping a SuperDrive for an SSD has a mix of pros and cons. It’s typically a little easier and less expensive to replace the SuperDrive than a stock hard drive, and you’ll always wind up with more internal storage than you started with. But you also lose CD/DVD reading and writing abilities — things fewer people care about these days — and you’ll need to set up your Mac to properly take advantage of the SSD. Read on for the details…

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iphone-6-vs.-iphone-6-plus-4

The iPhone 6 was the iPhone many had long been waiting for, offering a larger screen size and NFC support for Apple Pay. Unsurprisingly, it opened to record sales, and has continued to break sales records ever since.

But Apple’s ‘tick tock’ strategy –a major new iPhone one year and an updated model based on the same form factor the following year – means that the company has to work much harder to sell its S models. With little visual difference (and the average mass-market customer oblivious to processor upgrades), Apple has to rely on a headline new feature to persuade people that it’s worth the upgrade.

For the last couple of S models, Apple has offered pretty convincing reasons to buy: the 4S gave us Siri, and the 5s introduced Touch ID – both appealing features that were easy for non-tech customers to understand. But if the rumors are correct that Force Touch is the headline new feature of the iPhone 6S, this is one of five reasons I think the company’s rumored ambition to make 90M units by the end of the year could be a tough number to turn into sales …  expand full story

Upgrade ▪ June 1

A man holds a new Apple iPhone 5S next to his iPhone 5 at an Apple Store at Tokyo's Ginza shopping district

For the month of June, Apple is giving a small boost to its trade-in price values for the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, and iPhone 5S, according to Apple Store sources. Using the Reuse and Recycle program, a customer can bring in an older iPhone model and receive gift card credit toward the purchase of a newer iPhone. Likely in order to spur some new iPhone sales this month, Apple is offering the following improvements to its trade-in pricing:

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Upgrade ▪ February 24

Over the past two weeks, I’ve written about the (surprisingly easy) process of adding solid state drives (SSDs) to radically speed up older iMacs, and the varied challenge levels of adding SSDs to older Mac Pros, Mac minis, and non-Retina MacBooks. Today’s guide looks at the easiest SSD installations of all: the MacBook Air and Retina MacBook Pro. A new SSD in one of these machines could have two, four, eight, or sixteen times the original storage, plus two to four times faster speeds.

Apple shipped most MacBook Airs and all Retina MacBook Pros with solid state storage, so upgrading these machines for extra capacity and speed is generally as simple as picking a new drive, then using two special screwdrivers during the installation process. Assuming your MacBook is old enough to be out of warranty — except for a few specific models — you’ll find that pretty much anyone can handle this swap with the right tools. Below, I’m going to show those tools to you, as well as the MacBook-ready SSDs that are worth considering…

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