Apple is planning a major change for how customers buy hardware products, starting as soon as later this year with the iPhone. According to a new report from Bloomberg, Apple is planning to let users buy iPhone and iPad hardware “similar to paying a monthly app fee.”
The new program is described as Apple’s “biggest push yet into automatically recurring sales.”
Apple currently allows customers to finance nearly any hardware purchase (in the United States) using its Apple Card product. The company also operates the iPhone Upgrade Program in partnership with Citizens Bank. The iPhone Upgrade Program allows customers to get a new iPhone every 12 months.
This new hardware subscription service could launch as soon as later this year, with the report saying it is expected “by the end of 2022 or in 2023.”
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,Bloomberg News reports.
This new hardware subscription service could tie into Apple One bundles and AppleCare. Currently, AppleCare and Apple One exist independently of each other. You do, however, get AppleCare when you buy an iPhone through the iPhone Upgrade Program.
The program would differ from an installment program in that the monthly charge wouldn’t be the price of the device split across 12 or 24 months. Rather, it would be a yet-to-be-determined monthly fee that depends on which device the user chooses.
The company has discussed allowing users of the program to swap out their devices for new models when fresh hardware comes out. It historically releases new versions of its major devices, including the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch, once a year.
We’re still waiting for more details on how exactly this will work. It sounds like Apple may be planning to ditch Citizens One and bring the iPhone Upgrade Program experience in-house. In doing this, it could also expand it to other products including the iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch.
What do you think of Apple’s reported plans for this hardware subscription service? Would you pay a monthly service fee for access to new iPhone and iPad hardware? Let us know down in the comments.
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