Should advisers upgrade to the new iPhone?

Sep 10, 2013 @ 3:54 pm

By Matt Ackermann

With all the buzz today surrounding Apple Inc.'s introduction of two new iPhones, InvestmentNews polled its panel of technology experts to find out if advisers should upgrade.

“I like the fast speed, better battery life and the fingerprint sensor to protect advisers' sensitive data,” said JP Nicols, CEO of the research and innovation firm Clientific, and a partner at Bank Solutions Group. “I also expect that feature to improve payment technologies with better user identification and authentication. The faster processing and better camera could also facilitate more spontaneous video chats with clients.”

Other advisers disagreed.

“The only reason to rush out and buy a new iPhone (or Android) is because you just shattered your old smartphone, said Dave O'Brien of O'Brien Financial Planning Inc. “There may still be advisers without smartphones, and they may want to get current with technology, but today's launch of a faster, cheaper and more colorful iPhone isn't a game changer for advisers. The new OS7 may have some benefits for certain users, and the Touch ID security feature brings added confidence your data is a little harder to steal.”

A new iPhone known as the 5C will start at $99 with a two-year contract and will come in five colors, Apple said today at an event at its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. The high-end model, called the iPhone 5S, which will be available in three colors including gold, will cost $199 to $399 with a two-year contract. The phones will go on preorder on Sept. 13 and be in stores starting Sept. 20.

Tim Welsh, president of Nexus Strategy LLC, said the majority of new features for the iPhone are really aimed at enhancing the consumer experience.

“From an adviser point of view, they can definitely wait,” he said. “But, with the new enhanced ios7 and 64 bit, the new iPhones will be much faster, so that may be reason enough for advisers to want to upgrade.“

Ted Jenkin of oXYGen Financial Inc. said that, irrespective of the iPhone announcement, the biggest mistake most advisers make is not matching their technology.

“Technology works better when you have several devices that know how to talk to each other,” he said. “Pick a platform and stick with it rather than comingling devices.”

Jenkin said that he likes the iPhones' upgrades, specifically to the camera and high-definition Facetime.

Anytime we can increase mobile security I am all for it. I think advisers should get the new phone for that reason alone," said Matt Halloran of Top Advisor Coaching Co.

The product introductions underline how Apple, which was a trailblazer when it debuted the iPhone in 2007, is increasingly following the strategy of other smartphone makers that offer handsets in different colors and prices. Until now, Apple only released one new iPhone model every year. As competing devices running Google Inc.'s Android software gain in popularity in the $280 billion smartphone market, Apple is expanding its iPhone lineup to reach more customers.

For advisers who want to impress their clients, Mr. Welch said that the they should definitely get the new iPhone.

"The new colors and design look amazingly compelling, super cool and as an adviser, you will definitely raise your profile with clients and prospects by showing that you have the latest technology," he said.

But others remain skeptical.

“I'm always wary of being first. I'd rather wait until they get the bugs out,” said Sheryl Rowling, chief executive of Total Rebalance Expert.

What do you think? Are you planning to upgrade to a new iPhone. Join the discussion below

(This story was supplemented with reporting from Bloomberg News)

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