If this sounds familiar, Apple does already have the iPhone Upgrade Program. This allows you to get a new iPhone every year with AppleCare+ included starting at $35.33 per month. Other than potentially extending to devices outside of the iPhone it is unclear at present how this would differ from the Upgrade Program. Subscription hardware services take some of the bite out of the costly upgrade cycle, but like any lease, this will have users locked into essentially perpetual subscription contracts. This would be great for Apple and becomes a significant revenue driver, but will it be good for consumers? Will there be a way out of your subscription that won’t cost you a massive fee for returning a device you’re not happy with or want to move on from?
Apple may be developing a subscription business that will allow customers to “subscribe” (lease) iPhones and other Apple gadgets like MacBooks. The subscription service, according to Bloomberg, would be comparable to Apple’s current subscription services, such as iCloud or Music, but with devices. Apple “wants to make owning a phone like subscribing to applications,” according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, and it “may tie into AppleCare and digital service bundles.” So, similar to a car lease, you’d be leasing your equipment straight from Apple, and you’d get upgraded gadgets as part of the subscription service or potentially when it came time to return your old one.
Last year, Bloomberg reported that Apple was working on a “buy now, pay later” service for Apple Pay transactions. There were also rumors about the company developing a hardware subscription service, but it quieted down. Soon, Apple will probably start an excellent old-fashioned layaway program to pull more folks into its ecosystem. As products get more expensive, I believe you may see more companies moving to hardware subscription services to ensure that users have access to the latest and greatest tech.
Although Apple is trying to make the process of buying an iPhone or other Apple devices more streamlined and pretty much as easy as subscribing to iCloud or any of its other services by simply using your Apple ID, it does feel a bit forced. What will cellphone providers like Verizon and T-Mobile think about this as it may cost them millions in revenue? Apple is hoping to launch the new service by the end of 2022 according to the report, which makes sense as the company usually reveals the new iPhone, Apple Watch and other hardware in the fall, and this ‘subscription” launch could be set up in time for the Holiday shopping season
Mark has spent 20 years headlining comedy shows around the country and made appearances on ABC, MTV, Comedy Central, Howard Stern, Food Network, and Sirius XM Radio. He has written about every topic imaginable, from dating, family, politics, social issues, and tech. He wrote his first tech articles for the now-defunct Dads On Tech 10 years ago, and his passion for combining humor and tech has grown under the tutelage of the Laptop Mag team. His penchant for tearing things down and rebuilding them did not make Mark popular at home, however, when he got his hands on the legendary Commodore 64, his passion for all things tech deepened. These days, when he is not filming, editing footage, tinkering with cameras and laptops, or on stage, he can be found at his desk snacking, writing about everything tech, new jokes, or scripts he dreams of filming.