According to Bloomberg, Apple has a bizarre new idea to roll out to us all at the end of 2022: a subscription to iPhones. Not a subscription to the software, iOS, or its services, a subscription to an iPhone.
What’s the difference between that and a payment plan? We’re looking at the newest concept, what little details there are of it from Apple and whether it’s worth the money.
What is the iPhone subscription?
The Apple iPhone subscription is exactly what you think it is. In the age of Netflix and copying a winning financial formula, Apple has gone so far as to offer a subscription service for its hardware, starting with its smartphones.
The service is currently under construction, with Bloomberg reporting that iPhones, and perhaps iPads, will now be available to rent for a subscription fee rather than buying to own. Unless you buy your phone entirely upfront, it’s still a monthly payment coming out of your account, like comparing renting to mortgages. One might well be cheaper than the other, but it’s about ownership more than anything.
And it allows Apple more control over their devices. The war for the right to repair is still raging on, with Apple preferring you to pay larger rates to have Apple fix your phone rather than John Smith in the computer store. A war, we might add, that Apple is losing. With this subscription service, if you’re only renting your iPhone, you might be less inclined to repair it on your own.
Loss, damage, or theft of phones are usually covered by renters or homeowners insurance policies, but, as part of this move, customers might gain access to AppleCare, which offers technical support for all its gadgets.
What does the customer get out of it?
Well, there lies the mystery, isn’t it? Apple gets monthly payments that don’t end when the value of the gadget is paid off, and the customer gets…? The project is very hush-hush right now, with sources that are unidentified and details that are thin on the ground. The iPhone subscription service is expected to launch at the end of 2022. No doubt Apple higher-ups will be spending the next eight months trying to come up with an angle that makes this seem worth it for the customer, like trading iPhones for the latest model annually or a far lower monthly rate. Considering this is Apple, the tech giant we’re talking about, it’s hard to see the latter happening.
The Apple One subscription
But this is far from the only subscription service Apple has considered. It’s not even the only subscription service rolled out this year. Apple is surging forward full steam ahead with its subscription services due to the success of AppleOne, and the various other subscription services it’s made up of.
AppleOne combines Apple Music, Apple TV+, the new gaming platform, Apple Arcade, and iCloud services for $14.95 for an individual and $19.95 for the family package for five people. The Premier package also offers all this for five people plus the addition of Apple News+ and Apple Fitness+, which offer extra health monitoring features and fitness plans.
Having truly exhausted every software subscription service they can think of, Apple appears to be wading into hardware subscription.
Are they worth it?
As outlined, the details of the subscription service are rendered wraps right now, and there are whispers that the project might well be abandoned at the end of the year, but with what we know now, no. Apple will need to work hard to convince customers that renting their gadgets makes more sense than buying with a monthly payment plan. Despite the metaphor used above, this isn’t like a mortgage where there is a massive deposit, red tape, and a loaner to think about. It’s simple enough to get an iPhone if you can pay the monthly repayments, where an upfront amount is usually determined by you. Why would any customer want to trade paying off an item and owning it after 24 months for indefinite payments and no ownership?
As for the Apple One subscription, that is six subscription services rolled into one, that would total around $48, for $29.95 a month and the initial four of Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and iCloud for $14.95. It’s easy to see why that is making more heads turn right now.
The Apple iPhone subscription service is expected to launch at the end of this year, but Apple One is already available to sign up to.