If you subscribe to Apple One or Apple TV+, Apple may soon have a new iPhone to sell you.
According to Mark Gurman at Bloomberg, Apple has been working on a new subscription service for the iPhone and other hardware products that will let customers subscribe to Apple hardware with a monthly recurring payment. According to Gurman’s sources, Apple has been working on the subscription program for several months and is expected to launch it at the end of 2022.
Unfortunately, that’s all the detail we have right now. We don’t know anything about pricing, bundles, which Apple hardware would be offered (other than the iPhone), or terms for trade-ins and upgrades. Apple already offers the iPhone Upgrade Program in the U.S., U.K., and China, which lets users pay for a new iPhone with AppleCare+ over 24 monthly payments with the option to upgrade after 12 months.
Gurman says the program wouldn’t simply split the price of the device split across 12 or 24 months. Rather, Apple would charge a flat monthly fee like its other services. It’s also possible that the hardware subscriptions could incorporate the Apple One bundle or AppleCare+.
This new subscription service would presumably make buying an iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch as easy as subscribing to Apple Music or Apple TV+. However, it’s not clear yet how much this service would differ from the iPhone Upgrade Program, other than using the same Apple ID and payment methods that customers currently use for purchasing apps, in-app content or subscriptions, and other Apple services.
The iPhone Upgrade Program is technically a loan with a two-year payment plan and an option to trade in your device and upgrade to a new iPhone after one year. It is financed by a third-party bank (Citizen One in the U.S.) and requires a separate credit application with payment info and billing than your typical Apple services (though you can pay with Apple Card).
Gurman cautions that the service could be delayed into 2023 or end up getting canceled.