Apple working on hardware subscription service for iPhone, other products

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2022
Apple is reportedly working on a subscription service that would allow users to buy iPhones and other hardware products for a monthly fee - but how it differs from purchase vectors now isn't clear.

iPhones
iPhones


The service would be Apple's biggest push into recurring revenue streams, essentially bringing the company's Services model to its lucrative hardware business. However, the project is still in development and the initiative has yet to be announced, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

Additionally, the subscription could also tie into existing Apple services such as Apple One and AppleCare, Bloomberg added.

This is not the first time that a hardware subscription has been rumored. Analysts have long thought that such a service, which could include bundled services, would be a natural fit for Apple.

The report isn't clear about how the service will differ from the existing Apple iPhone Upgrade Program, buying a device with monthly payments on an Apple Card, or buying a phone with monthly payments through a carrier.

All three functionally serve the same purpose, making any launched program mostly a marketing exercise -- unless Apple includes some additional benefit tied to its hardware subscription.

Of course, there are subtle differences between monthly Apple Card payments and the iPhone Upgrade Program.

For one, users aren't required to purchase AppleCare with Apple Card payments. When payments end, users end up owning their devices if bought with an Apple Card. On the iPhone Upgrade Program, users have the option to swap their device after six months, or 12 payments.

The subscription service is predicted to debut in late 2022, with a possible launch in 2023.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    I remember this rumour swirling around 10 years ago.  Are Apple planning on releasing a TV set too?
    DAalseth
  • Reply 2 of 12
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,829member
    Nope
    I wouldn’t put it past them mind you.
    But for me, nope.
    byronl
  • Reply 3 of 12
    The existing Apple iPhone Upgrade Program requires a postpaid account with one of the big 3 (or 4): AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, or Sprint (now T-Mobile). I have T-Mobile prepaid and would prefer to use the iPhone Upgrade Program and get a new iPhone every year. I have tried multiple times and confirmed with Apple Support that prepaid and smaller carriers do not qualify. I used Apple Card Monthly Installments instead. I suspect Apple cut an exclusivity deal with the big 3 for the refurb and resale of traded-in iPhones to make the program more viable. I would like to see this rumored new Apple Hardware subscription come forth but with the same freedom of choice offered by the Apple Card Monthly Installments, namely SIM-free Activate at a Later Time.
    byronl
  • Reply 4 of 12
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    Well, this would kinda throw a monkey wrench in the “I own it and I can do whatever I want with it” argument. No, you don’t own it, you’re just subscribing to it.
    designrjas99byronl
  • Reply 5 of 12
    M68000M68000 Posts: 770member
    Not sure I like this idea.  Something nice about being able to say you own your phone.  But then again,  I’m not somebody who wants to change phones every year on launch day, unless there was something truly special to do so.  Not into that kind of pace, lol
    edited March 2022 byronl
  • Reply 6 of 12
    payecopayeco Posts: 581member
    lkrupp said:
    Well, this would kinda throw a monkey wrench in the “I own it and I can do whatever I want with it” argument. No, you don’t own it, you’re just subscribing to it.
    Depends on how it works. If it works like the iPhone Upgrade Program it’s the best aspects of subscriptions and ownership IMO. If you want the new iPhone every year you trade in the old one, get the new one, and keep paying your monthly rate. If you don’t want the new one the following year, you just keep your existing phone and you own it outright after 24 months (or sooner if you pay it off early).
    RitchieMacbyronltape
  • Reply 7 of 12
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 3,094member
    I think the term "lease" is misspelled in this article several times. 
    designrmattinozbyronl
  • Reply 8 of 12
    bulk001bulk001 Posts: 770member
    The biggest advantage would be carrier independence. Right now I am tied into my carrier and if I switch I have to pay the phone off right away. If I was renting the phone from Apple, I could switch at anytime as they don’t care which carrier I use. This a big win for customers. Second is that leasing a phone should be a lot cheaper than buying it as I never get to own the device (car lease payment vs buying a car payment). 
    edited March 2022 jas99byronl
  • Reply 9 of 12
    M68000M68000 Posts: 770member
    bulk001 said:
    The biggest advantage would be carrier independence. Right now I am tied into my carrier and if I switch I have to pay the phone off right away. If I was renting the phone from Apple, I could switch at anytime as they don’t care which carrier I use. This a big win for customers. Second is that leasing a phone should be a lot cheaper than buying it as I never get to own the device (car lease payment vs buying a car payment). 
    But what about the hassle of dealing with switching carriers and the maze of plans, confusion, activation fees, details and fine print?  As for always having a “hardware” payment - it is a great thrill to make payment 30 of 30 and then own the phone. To me at least…
  • Reply 10 of 12
    This is coming from the joke of a rag called Bloomberg.

    The same shit rag that falsely claimed Super Micro motherboards contained secret Chinese spy chips, and never provided a shred of evidence or retracted the story, even after multiple companies and government agencies across the planet refuted those claims.

    No sale.
  • Reply 11 of 12
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,829member
    This is coming from the joke of a rag called Bloomberg.

    The same shit rag that falsely claimed Super Micro motherboards contained secret Chinese spy chips, and never provided a shred of evidence or retracted the story, even after multiple companies and government agencies across the planet refuted those claims.

    No sale.
    Ah I missed that. IMO Bloomberg is right up there with DigiTimes as far as trustworthiness. I'll believe it when Apple announces it.
  • Reply 12 of 12
    bulk001bulk001 Posts: 770member
    M68000 said:
    bulk001 said:
    The biggest advantage would be carrier independence. Right now I am tied into my carrier and if I switch I have to pay the phone off right away. If I was renting the phone from Apple, I could switch at anytime as they don’t care which carrier I use. This a big win for customers. Second is that leasing a phone should be a lot cheaper than buying it as I never get to own the device (car lease payment vs buying a car payment). 
    But what about the hassle of dealing with switching carriers and the maze of plans, confusion, activation fees, details and fine print?  As for always having a “hardware” payment - it is a great thrill to make payment 30 of 30 and then own the phone. To me at least…
    Yea, there are those who see problems to every solution I guess. Remember those who thought the iPhone would never succeed, who mocked Job’s iPads presentation, who thought changing chips in the mac to their own silicone would never work … the list of why things won’t work go on and on …
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