Mark Gurman: Apple may offer iPhone hardware subscriptions this year

Or maybe next year. Or maybe never.

From "Apple Is Working on a Hardware Subscription Service for iPhones" posted Thursday on the Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. is working on a subscription service for the iPhone and other hardware products, a move that could make

device ownership similar to paying a monthly app fee, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The service would be Apple’s biggest push yet into automatically recurring sales, allowing users to subscribe to hardware for the first time -- rather than just digital services. But the project is still in development, said the people, who asked not to identified because the initiative hasn’t been announced...

Apple has been working on the subscription program for several months, but the project was recently put on the back burner in an effort to launch a “buy now, pay later” service more quickly. Nonetheless, the subscription service is still expected to launch at the end of 2022, but could be delayed into 2023 or end up getting canceled, the people said...

In 2015, the company launched the iPhone Upgrade Program, financed through Citizens One Personal Loans, that let users spread the cost of an iPhone over 24 months and upgrade to a new model every 12 months. It also lets Apple Card users divide the cost of an iPhone or Apple Watch over 24 months or an iPad or Mac over 12 months.

My take:  Seems like a no-brainer. I fell off the iPhone Upgrade Program when I switched carriers a few years back. I'm ready to climb back on.

4 Comments

  1. Steven Philips said:
    I found the iPhone upgrade program to be more hassle than it was worth. Especially when you had to include Apple Care! They need to make subscribers first in line. Not just “join the queue” after your anniversary date. And they need to eliminate most of the BS of getting a new “loan” and reregistering with the phone company.
    Maybe a hardware subscription would do this?
    Until then I’ll just buy a new one “whenever.” It’s no more hassle than the update program.

    1
    March 24, 2022
  2. Jerry Doyle said:
    (Posted this comment on the Toni Sacconaghi subject and see it also is appropriate here, too)

    The proposed rumor for an Apple hardware/services subscription model is appealing, but I do not know if it is a deal breaker for many folk. The monthly dollar subscription needs to be competitive and not just pro-rating the cost of the hardware-services on monthly terms commensurate with the same amount if purchased.

    Apple hardware is premium build and lasts for years giving continuing service. I held my iPhone X for four solid years of service and easily could have gone an additional year. I notice no degradation in performance during the 3rd and 4th years. In many ways I could have held off with the 13 and waited for the iPhone 14 arrival, thus getting five full years of service from my iPhone X. That would have meant three full years or 36 months of NO monthly payments. So, for me a subscription needs to be less than the pro-rated monthly charge of the device over time if purchased, tantamount to the existing 24 month upgrade program which essentially is paying full price of the phone. Otherwise, just buy the phone and after 24 months keep it for an additional 36 months of no payments, using those accumulated funds to pay for other subscription services. It will be interesting to see how many folk bite for a hardware/services subscription. I do not believe many of my friends would bite; but I will inquire.

    0
    March 24, 2022
  3. Jerry Doyle said:
    One method for attracting folk to a hardware subscription model is having them pay for the depreciated value only, of the device . Apple devices last many years. They later are refurbished and sold again on the market. So, a subscription model based on payments over 24 months for the depreciated amount only would be a most attractive offering involving lower monthly payments for new devices. This is similar to the automobile industry leasing programs where the lessee pays for the depreciated amount during the period of use.

    0
    March 24, 2022
  4. Tom Farris said:
    Bought a iPhone 4S for my wife brand new, when it first came out. Upgraded the iOS only once early on after purchase. Never upgraded the iOS after that. Bought my wife an iPhone 7 when they first came out. Regular iOS upgrades there. I got the hand-me-down iPhone 4S then and used it happily until October 2021 when AT&T sent me a refurbished iPhone 8 (unasked for and free) which I am also happily using…I credit the long trouble free time with the 4S being due to NOT upgrading the iOS every time a new one came out. The License revision date is 8/0/2012. I got all the use I needed and would still be using it except for the 3G death here.

    1
    March 25, 2022

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