Rumor | Apple customers will be able to subscribe to iPhones in the future
According to Bloomberg's habitual 'Apple correspondent' Mark Gurman, Apple is working on a new kind of payment scheme for iPhones. However, quite apart from being just another kind of credit-based or installment plan, it is apparently one in which a user can pay a monthly fee to keep using the smartphone in question.
In fact, Gurman likens the scheme allegedly being dreamed up in Cupertino at the time of writing to those services in which a customer who leases a car gets a vehicle upgrade so long as they keep paying. Indeed, the new "iPhone-as-a-service" model would involve access to new units generation on generation.
Accordingly, this might indeed be attractive to some consumers, especially those who are most certain they would stick with iPhones year by year and can afford to upgrade their handset by, as it effectively would be, default.
Then again, it might sound preposterous to others. However, there are precedents out there: for example, Google now has a similar service for those who buy Chromebooks at an enterprise level; furthermore, Peloton is also now testing a similar machine-leasing model, for up to US$100 a month.
Therefore, it may be plausible for Apple, a subscription-happy OEM in any case, to go in a similar direction. On that note, there is scope for it to bundle this potential new offer with other monthly charges, and perhaps for the service to even extend to other devices such as Macs (for business customers at the least).
On the other hand, there is the prospect of how the company might end up handling cancellations in these cases, not to mention abrupt non-payment of fees for that matter. These issues might afford Apple license to impose yet more software locks on its next-gen mobile devices, which could be described as getting less sustainable by the year in their current form.