Apple is working on a subscription service for the iPhone and other hardware products, Bloomberg reports. Extending the company’s push into services which offer more recurring revenue, the move could see customers pay a monthly fee for the device and receive regular upgrades, according to people with knowledge of the matter. iPhone subscription service
The project is still in development, the sources said. Apple declined to comment on the company’s plans.
Customers could buy an iPhone or iPad with the same Apple ID and App Store account they use to buy apps and subscribe to services. The offer would differ from an installment program in that the monthly charge wouldn’t be the price of the device split across 12 or 24 months. Rather, it would be a yet-to-be-determined monthly fee that depends on which device the user chooses. According to the report, the company has discussed allowing users of the program to swap out their devices for new models when fresh hardware comes out.
Apple has been working on the subscription program for several months, but the project was recently put on the back burner in an effort to launch a “buy now, pay later” service more quickly, the report said. The subscription service is still expected to launch at the end of 2022, but could be delayed into 2023 or end up getting canceled, the people said.
The iPhone is Apple’s biggest source of sales, generating nearly $192 billion last year — more than half the company’s revenue.
A spokeswoman for Cupertino, California-based Apple declined to comment on the company’s plans.
The idea is to make the process of buying an iPhone or iPad on par with paying for iCloud storage or an Apple Music subscription each month. Apple is planning to let customers subscribe to hardware with the same Apple ID and App Store account they use to buy apps and subscribe to services today.
The subscriptions would likely be managed through a user’s Apple account on their devices, through the App Store and on the company’s website. It would likely also be an option at checkout on Apple’s online store and at its physical retail locations. Apple accounts are typically tied to a user’s credit or debit card.