Apple Is Reportedly Working on an iPhone Subscription Service, Here's What It's About

Would you pay a monthly subscription fee for a new iPhone?
by Ashley Martelino for Spot.ph   |  Apr 2, 2022
Image: Shutterstock
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By now, you're probably used to paying monthly subscription fees for apps and digital services be it streaming platforms like Netflix, Spotify, or YouTube Premium, online content like The New York Times articles, or community-membership sites like Patreon. But would you be willing to do the same for new smartphones? Well, you may soon have the option. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman—a tech reporter with a long history of accurate Apple predictions—reported on March 24 that the tech retailer may be working on an iPhone subscription service.

Apple Reportedly Working on iPhone Subscription Service

According to Gurman, this service could make device ownership similar to paying a monthly fee for an app, calling it "Apple’s biggest push yet into automatically recurring sales." That means every time a new iPhone model is released, users who are paying the monthly subscription fee would be able to get the device right away without fuss and without having to immediately spend tens of thousands.

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It’s no secret that Apple annually encourages its users to replace their barely-a-year-or-two-old mobile devices by releasing upgraded new models that make the predecessors seem obsolete. The iPhone 13 for example, was unveiled on September 15, 2021, less than a year after the iPhone 12’s October 2020 reveal. And just four months after the 13 series' initial release, rumors about the upcoming iPhone 14 were already circulating.

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Many of Apple's most loyal customers do choose to keep up with the upgrades, so a subscription-service model would make sense for the most diehard iPhone users. Gurman even notes that the iPhone is Apple’s biggest source of sales—it generated nearly U.S. $192 billion in 2021 (over P10 trillion) and accounted for more than half of Apple’s total sales that year.

apple iphone 13
Apple's latest flagship smartphone, the iPhone 13, starts at P44,990 in the Philippines.
PHOTO BY Apple
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Though Apple already offers installment-based payment plans, a subscription model could “make it easier for consumers to stomach spending thousands of dollars on new devices.” Think about it: Do you worry about the money that goes towards your Netflix or Spotify subscriptiions every month? The automatic subscription model, in many ways, takes away the worry that comes with each individual purchase—whether that's a good thing or a bad thing, particularly when it comes to expensive hardware products, is yet to be seen. Gurman also notes that a subscription model would differ from an installment program as "the monthly charge wouldn’t be the price of the device split across 12 or 24 months," but instead a "yet-to-be-determined monthly fee that depends on which device the user chooses.”

Apple currently offers subscription services for extra iCloud storage and for its streaming platform Apple Music. According to Gurman, the plan is to make the process of buying an iPhone as simple as those aforementioned services, using the same Apple ID and App Store account—both of which can be tied to a debit or credit card—that one would use to purchase apps and digital products.

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There's been no official word from Apple just yet—as per usual—and Gurman notes that "the project is still in development." It’s also unclear whether the possible subscription-service model will be available in the Philippines or outside the U.S., but Gurman says it’s expected to launch at the end of 2022, though it could be delayed into 2023 or even "end up getting cancelled."

Would you pay for an iPhone subscription service?

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This story originally appeared on Spot.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Candymag.com editors.

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