Apple is developing a hardware subscription service that would allow customers to “subscribe” to receive an Apple device, such as an iPhone or iPad, similar to how current Apple subscriptions work, says a Bloomberg report.
Such a move could make device ownership similar to paying a monthly app fee, say Bloomberg’s sources. The plan would allow those that don’t have the funds upfront to buy an expensive item – like an iPhone, Mac, or iPad – but that could afford monthly payments, to be able to afford a new device.
Apple is said to be shooting for making the process of buying an iPhone or iPad “on par” with paying for iCloud Storage or an Apple Music subscription. Customers would be able to “subscribe” to hardware with an Apple ID and App Store account.
While Apple currently offers an iPhone Upgrade Program, the plan would charge a monthly subscription fee rather than splitting the cost of an iPhone across a 12-month or 24-month period. While the iPhone Upgrade Program is limited to iPhones (it is literally in the name of the program), the subscription deal would also cover other products.
Apple’s program may allow subscription users to swap out their devices for new models when they are released. Apple has reportedly had internal discussions about possibly tying the subscription program to Apple One bundles and AppleCare support plans.
Customers would be able to purchase a hardware subscription directly on their devices, through the App Store or the Apple website, or by visiting an Apple online store.
Apple is working to make hardware subscriptions available by the end of 2022, but the plan’s debut could slip into 2023, or as sometimes happens in cases like this, be canceled entirely.