Best Buy beats Apple to 'MacBook as a subscription service' program

in Current Mac Hardware edited October 2022
Electronics retailer Best Buy has launched a Mac equivalent of Apple's iPhone upgrade program, letting users lease a laptop over a three-year period.

As rumors persist that Apple is looking to introduce a hardware subscription service, Best Buy has partnered with finance firm Citizens Pay to do it. The new Upgrade+ service is specifically meant to finance Mac laptop computers for monthly fee.

"Apple continues to be a major innovator in the tech space, and their products have helped transform the way people use technology in their everyday lives," Jason Bonfig, Best Buy's chief merchandising officer, in a press release. "By introducing Upgrade+, we're bringing customers an affordable and approachable way to get their hands on some of the most exciting technology available."

Best Buy says that Upgrade+ works like a 36-month lease. For a $999 MacBook Air, qualifying users pay from $19.99 per month for 36 months, followed by an potential $280.35 final payment in month 37.

Instead of buying their laptop in that 37th month, however, users can return the machine and continue in the program with a new one. Of course, if an upgrade option is chosen, monthly prices will be higher.

Plus, the company says that whichever option they choose, they will not be required to make the final payment.

"If they choose to either upgrade to a newer Mac laptop model, or to return the original product," says the company, "Best Buy will make the final payment on behalf of the customer."

Buyers have the option of getting AppleCare+ for the device, plus selected -- and as yet unspecified -- Apple accessories. These are all financed over 36 months.

The service is similar in principle to Apple's own iPhone Upgrade Program.

In Best Buy's case, the company says that this is a limited-time promotion, though it currently gives no end date. Discounts and Best Buy Totaltech member pricing do not apply.

The amount paid per month for the first 36 months is based on creditworthiness, and also on the "original, non-discounted price" of the device. Further limitations are details on Best Buy's Upgrade+ page.

Read on AppleInsider


  • Reply 1 of 9
    No thanks. I would rather own my laptop.
  • Reply 2 of 9
    igorskyigorsky Posts: 759member
    starof80 said:
    No thanks. I would rather own my laptop.
    Financing over 37 months interest-free seems like a no brainer, though.
  • Reply 3 of 9
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,437member
    Actually, it makes sense to just lease it because we keep upgrading every few years. What's the point of having a laptop outright if you just keep upgrading your new hardware every two years to get ahead? You can always buy it full with partial payment if you decide to keep it. 
  • Reply 4 of 9
    FuzzyDiceFuzzyDice Posts: 9unconfirmed, member
    This is kind of dumb, because they remove the option to use the program, as soon as you choose 16 Gigs of RAM on the air and 13" Pro.  
  • Reply 5 of 9
    Interesting.  Looks like you can buy the machine at lease-end (and have spent about the same as the list price).  Or, turn it back in (and have spent less than the un-discounted price).  Maybe BBY assumes they can make money on difference between wholesale and list price, plus any services they sell, plus selling returned off-lease refurbished units?  If machine was reliable at end of lease, I'd likely buy-out the lease for the 37th payment, and keep the unit for a few more years.  Only quibble I can think of is that BBY typically only sells a few configurations, usually not the custom order configurations available from Apple on-line or certain other on-line stores.  
  • Reply 6 of 9
    It seems as though just using Apple Card to finance is a better deal. That is, retail. I bought my 14” MAX as an Apple Refurb at a great price, but it wasn’t eligible for Apple Card finance…weird. Otherwise, I don’t see the value of this “subscription” leasing option. It smells a lot like a Trojan Horse to me.
  • Reply 7 of 9
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,802member
    Generally I avoid these kind of deals because Rent to Own generally means you pay way too much. But I ran the numbers and in this case it’s about the same as purchasing it. That’s not bad actually. As we tend to keep our systems for a long time, right now I’m looking at replacing my 2012 MacBook Pro, I’d buy it at yhe end, but free financing is pretty nice, especially with interest rates climbing.
  • Reply 8 of 9
    danoxdanox Posts: 2,963member
    For short term thinkers, got to have it now, saving for six months or year is out of the question.
  • Reply 9 of 9
    This is what many large companies do with tens or hundreds of thousands of units (including one large company that formerly made everything from light bulbs to jet aircraft engines).  There are commonly two types of leases that a company may use, one is an operating lease, the other is a capital lease.  This looks more like a capital lease.  Companies formerly leased mainframes or minicomputers for 3-5 years, now many lease laptops, desktops, printers, displays and copiers for 3-4 years.  Sometimes they will buy out some items at lease end, often times displays.  

    Seems no different from leasing a car or truck (other than no interest charge by BBY).  Or, what many folks do with their cell phones.  Lease term is three times longer than the 12 month payment plan that Apple offers for macs (24 months for cell phones).  B&H has something similar.  

    Some automobiles/trucks are "sold" with a seven to ten year high interest rate loan.  Homes are normally sold with a 15-40 year loan.  Hope laptop/desktop leases never get that long!  I doubt manufacturers could build a laptop that would last longer than 7-10 years.  The one I'm using is pushing 9 years.  Apple, Google and Microsoft are all deeply into designed obsolescence, as are Dell, H. P. and Lenovo.  
    edited October 2022 muthuk_vanalingam
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