Apple Stores to Allow Customers to Purchase iPhone Through U.S. Carriers' Early Upgrade Programs

Apple Retail Stores will soon allow customers to purchase an iPhone through U.S. carrier early upgrade programs including AT&T Next, Verizon Edge, and T-Mobile Jump, reports 9to5Mac. Apple is aiming to implement the new initiative right before the launch of the iPhone 6 this fall, as both Genius Bar workers and store employees will receive training on the program from Sunday, August 10 to Thursday, August 28.

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Currently, Apple Store customers are only limited to purchasing an iPhone through a regular two-year contract at subsidized pricing or unlocked at full-price. All three early upgrade programs allow customers to upgrade their phones more frequently as the complete cost of a device is split into monthly payments which are rolled into the standard bill each month. Verizon and T-Mobile allow customers to upgrade their phones twice every year after six months of payments, while AT&T customers can upgrade once every 12 months after a year of payments.

The move also comes after Apple Stores began allowing customers to add pre-paid or month-to-month plans when purchasing full-priced, unlocked iPhones in June. Apple CEO Tim Cook noted last year that 80 percent of iPhones are sold at third-party locations while 20 percent are sold by Apple, adding that it was a figure he would like to improve. Apple has launched a number of other programs in its retail store to boost in-store sales, which included an event this past May encouraging iPhone 4 and 4s owners to update to a newer device.

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Top Rated Comments

Zadigre Avatar
128 months ago
My thoughts exactly! Was debating if I was going to join the next program or do the $250 early upgrade. Only wanted to buy at Apple because its easier to get a replacement new device incase of a DOA or defective unit.

It does not matter where you buy your iPhone ...you get the same service if you go to the Apple store directly.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bpcookson Avatar
128 months ago
I'm on AT&T. I recently saved about $30 for switching from a 4GB plan to a 10GB plan that dropped my per-phone fee from $40 to $15 (we have 2 phones). The catch is this: if I buy my next phone at a subsidized cost, the per-phone fee jumps back to $40.

Basically, what they did was offer me Next pricing without signing up for the Next service and I had to increase my data plan to get it. Now I have to enroll in Next for my subsequent iPhone or otherwise face a bill that swings from a cost savings to big cost increase. I'm glad Apple will be offering the Next option in-store.

So I have the following options:
1. Buy an iPhone 6 at subsidy.
2. Buy an iPhone 6 unlocked at full price.
3. Buy an iPhone 6 under a new Next plan.

I've been debating these loosely in my head ever since switching to the 10GB plan, but never wrote anything down. Doing so here will help me make my decision and hopefully also benefit others in the same boat. So let's do some math. I have a 64GB phone now but will consider getting a 32GB phone next time, and of course there are rumors that 32 will be the new 16, so I might as well crunch numbers for all 3 price tiers.

Assumptions:
* Numbers are for 1 phone.
* "1 Year" or "2 Years" assumes either selling or turning in your phone as applicable.
* Resale values are conservative (i.e. $100, $200, $300 for a 2yr old iPhone). YMMV.
* Purchasing at subsidy and upgrading at 1 Year incurs a $250 upgrade fee.

1. Subsidy - Includes a $450 discount; raises my monthly bill by $25
Size - 1 Year - 2 Years
16GB - 780 - 1060
32GB - 780 - 1060
64GB - 780 - 1060

2. Unlocked - All costs are up front; bill remains the same
Size - 1 Year - 2 Years
16GB - 680 - 910
32GB - 680 - 910
64GB - 680 - 910

3. Next - Cost of phone split across 24 payments at 0% interest; bill remains the same
Size - 1 Year - 2 Years
16GB - 505 - 910
32GB - 555 - 910
64GB - 605 - 910

If getting a new iPhone every year is important to you, the Next Plan appears to be a no-brainer. If you don't mind waiting two years between phones, well... it seems like the Next Plan is still a no-brainer because free financing is way better than parting with all your cash up front.

I'm rather surprised by these results, so I feel I must have missed something. By all means, please let me know if you can find that I've done something wrong. Here's a link to the math:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/28700580/iPhone%20Purchase%20Options.xlsx
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lolkthxbai Avatar
128 months ago
It does not matter where you buy your iPhone ...you get the same service if you go to the Apple store directly.

If you mean service as in "cell service" then yes, it's the same. However, Apple's customer service is above that of a carrier store.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)