Thank you, Yolanda, for reading and commenting. A couple of years ago, I made the same decision to never buy an iPhone. This was when my iPhone 5’s display suddenly died on me, just two years after I bought it. Instead I went for an Android called Mi4i for around $150. It’s from a Chinese company called Xiaomi, which I think is not yet available in the West. The company is a top seller in India as they give an unbeatable combination of good hardware at low prices. The plus for me was it feels familar as it looks like an Apple phone, and has a modified OS that resembles iOS.
But as Stéphane Tsacas points out (see response below to your comment), iPhones are enjoyable devices, and I missed it. So I was secretly thrilled when my wife gifted me an iPhone 6S+ despite my having a new phone. (She too was thrilled, as I’m a person of few needs and so, hard to please)
Stéphane does have a point when he says we can’t expect five year old phones with old hardware to run new apps. Used phones is a solution.
But I think there is a better solution, which comes in two parts. The first part is related to the massive profits Apple makes on each iPhone. Apple needs to change its business model so it sells a few updated iPhones at reasonable prices. Surprisingly enough, Apple is already doing this in India. I think Apple realised that both the expensive iPhones models and the cheaper, but outdated models appealed to very few Indians. So it released the iPhone SE, which has the specs of the iPhone 6S (except for 3D Touch) at a price of ₹19000 ($300). That’s still expensive for an iPhone 5 size phone (it can be had for as low as $150 in US). But iPhones are priced highest in India because of taxes. The base model iPhone 7 is currently selling in India for ₹43000 ($667). Prices are expected to drop shortly as Apple has agreed to assemble iPhones in India, and so taxes will be reduced.
The second part is out of Apple’s control. It’s up to the app makers who have to keep earlier compatible versions of apps available. My wife refuses to get rid of her old iPhone 4. And I was just as unhappy as you, when I was unable to install a VOIP app as the phone had to be upgraded to iOS 8. Strangely enough, Uber does allow an earlier version, which still works, albeit very slowly. There is a warning to update the app though. See below.
So I guess the choice for those of us who have had enough of Apple’s ‘planned obsolescence’ is to go for Apple’s new budget phone, the iPhone SE. Or switch to Android which is fast catching up with Apple. I recently exchanged my old Mi4i for a newer model from Xiaomi, the Redmi Note 4. It’s a good deal for ₹13000 ($200) and one of India’s top selling phones.