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Smartphones are expensive, with many models running more than a grand. That’s before you even get into all the cloud subscriptions phone makers push on you. Google recently launched Pixel Pass, which offers a phone and online services as a bundle for a single monthly fee, and Bloomberg reports that Apple is now planning a similar option for iPhone buyers. The company’s mobile hardware already makes up the lion’s share of its revenue, and this could make its smartphones even easier to buy.
Apple has traditionally leaned on selling mobile devices at full price, the same way it does computers. However, you can also get iPhones with monthly installment plans based on the cost of the hardware — both Apple and its carrier partners offer that. You might pay $40 per month for an iPhone, another $10 for Apple Music, $3 for iCloud, and so on. It adds up.
The proposed subscription service wouldn’t be the same as paying on an installment plan. Like Pixel Pass, subscribers would pay one flat monthly fee which has yet to be determined. The price may vary based on how many services the user wants to bundle. Pixel Pass runs between $45 and $55 per month for those on the Android side of the fence. Apple already has a bundle of online services called Apple One, and it sounds like the idea is to add an iPhone or iPad to that. Apple may even keep the “One” branding, but there’s no confirmation of that.
This service would be tied to the same Apple ID and App Store account people currently use to pay for subscriptions today. It might even be managed in the App Store client. Because you aren’t paying off the cost of the hardware, the subscription can be somewhat cheaper than simply buying a phone. That also affords the opportunity to swap your phone as new devices come out, continuing the same subscription. This is apparently something Apple is exploring as well.
According to the report, Apple has been planning this service for months, but it was delayed in favor of more traditional financing services. However, the company still expects to have its subscription bundle ready for launch at the end of the year or in early 2023. Bloomberg notes there is still a chance Apple could decide to abandon the project before release — it wouldn’t be the first time. Naturally, Apple has refused to comment on the report. If it does come to fruition, I expect Apple’s subscription offer to be a poor deal unless you want all the bundled services. That’s the case with Pixel Pass, and Apple is always happy to charge a little more than its competitors.
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