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iPhone subscriptions: how renting your iPhone could work

Would you pay a monthly subscription for your iPhone?

Almost everything is available for subscription, these days. Your TV, music, movies, and even your groceries. But what if you could pay a subscription for your phone? Well, Apple is reportedly working on introducing this after acquiring Credit Karma here in the UK.

Sounds similar to normal contracts, right? Wrong. In this subscription, you’d be renting your iPhone rather than paying it off monthly like a contract or the iPhone Upgrade Programme. This way, Apple can throw in some cherries on the top of your subscription, making it worth your while. Let’s take a look at how this could work.

How would renting your iPhone work?

Apple’s subscription model for iPhones would make buying a new device as easy as subscribing to an app or iCloud. Everything would be handled by your Apple ID, and payments would be taken on a monthly basis.

But Apple isn’t just stopping at iPhones. This new subscription would likely extend to other hardware devices, such as the iPad and Mac. The idea of paying one monthly fee for an iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac bundle sounds rather nifty, eh?

The monthly fee for the subscriptions would depend on the devices and specs chosen, but these are yet to be decided. Since you’re not splitting the cost of the device across 12 or 24 months like a contract, the iPhone Upgrade Programme, or other Buy Now, Pay Later plan, the subscriptions would likely be cheaper.

The only caveat is that this would really be renting the device. You won’t own it down the line, but would have to return it to Apple. But that’s not a problem, as you can hop over to a subscription for your next iPhone!

Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program offers the iPhone 13 from £37.45 per month over 20 months. That’s dividing the cost of the device over the 20 months, plus some interest. Now, if you’re not paying off the device total and instead renting it, Apple would reduce the cost. Let’s say it goes down to £25 per month, as an example.

Apple could then bundle this subscription with extra goodies. An extra £10 a month for Apple One? Sure. Another £10 a month for AppleCare? Heck yeah! As Apple’s offering all these services in one subscription, they’ll be able to offer them for cheaper as well.

With SIM Only plans starting from less than £10 per month, this whole subscription isn’t looking too shabby. Perhaps Apple could even partner with a carrier (like it does in the US) and offer your plan in the price as well. Though that seems like it would be a ways off.

But, wouldn’t this be more expensive than a normal contract?

You’d think so, right? But no. As we mentioned, an iPhone 13 starts from £37.45 per month on the iPhone Upgrade Programme. Apple One is then an extra £14.95 per month, and AppleCare is included. That’s a £52.40 per month total price. Though our subscription figures are just examples, you can see how they would be significantly cheaper.

Let’s turn to the carriers. EE offers the same iPhone 13 from £55 per month. Add Apple One for £14.95 per month, and AppleCare for £11.99 per month. Suddenly, we’re nearing triple digits. Anyone else want that Apple subscription right about now?

While reports suggest Apple is working on this subscription feature, nothing has been confirmed yet. It makes sense for Apple to extend its financial offerings, as the company actually has the Apple Card in the US. The company could choose to go in a different direction, though we hope not. An iPhone subscription with all the trimmings sounds rather peachy to us.