Amidst the chaos and excitement of Apple’s “Hey Siri” event, Phil Schiller took the stage to talk iPhone 6S. Near the end of his breakdown of all the cool new things, came the part everyone has grown accustomed to. Schiller showed the iPhone 6 an 6 Plus, and reminded us that their starting price a year ago was (starting at) $199 and $299, respectively. Then he showed the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus and – as expected – they would fill those same price slots. He then pointed out that this was only on a 2-year carrier subsidized upgrade, and that most carriers are now selling the phone for little or nothing out the door, and then tacking on $25 (give or take) every month to cover the actual cost of the phone, but introduced a new option from Apple.
iPhone Upgrade Program
He then introduced a new way to get the new iPhone – every year – regardless of carrier. The “iPhone Upgrade Program,” which is structured similarly to carriers new upgrade plans (T-Mobile’s Jump, AT&T Next, Verizon Edge, and whatever BS Sprint is slinging…), allows customers to get the iPhone 6S without carrier commitment, meaning you can choose a carrier, or even change carriers, as desired. Using the Upgrade Program, you ultimately buy the iPhone at full-retail price ($649 for a 16GB iPhone 6S, $749 for the 16GB 6S Plus – add $100 for 64GB and $200 for 128GB), but spread out the financial burder over the course of 24 months instead of paying it all in one shot. Pricing for the iPhone Upgrade Program starts at just $32.41/month for the 16GB iPhone 6S, and prices go up from there, varying by model and storage capacity.
Similar to some of the carrier plans, after 12 months, you can trade-in your iPhone 6S or 6S Plus, perfectly timed with the inevitable release of the iPhone 7 (thus restarting your 24 month repayment). An added perk of choosing Apple’s “iPhone Upgrade Program” is that built-in to the cost of the repayment is AppleCare+ for the device. This serves both as an extended warranty and insurance-like policy for you iPhone, and provides Apple the peace of mind to know the device is covered, should it be destroyed during the 24 month repayment cycle.
The only catch to the entire program is that, at launch – which coincides with the iPhone 6S launch – it will only be available in Apple Retail Stores. Anyone wanting to take advantage of the new payment option, but hoping to preorder are instructed to make a reservation (starting Sept. 12 at 12:00AM PDT) to buy in-store, where they can then request the Upgrade Program as their payment method when they pick up their device.
While this change is reshaping the mentality of customers in the US, many other countries are already accustomed to various financing plans for devices, detached from carrier plans. This also (hopefully) helps to push carriers to be more competitive in pricing and offerings of service, since device subsidies are shifting off of their shoulders.
The iPhone Upgrade Program is available exclusively for the iPhone 6S (for now), and – again – is limited to customers in the Apple Retail Store (again, for now). All the official details are available on Apple’s website, and we’ll keep you updated if more details become available.