Apple could launch a new phone-leasing subscription service as early as next year, according to reports in the US.
The US tech giant is working on a new system that would see people charged a monthly subscription fee for their devices instead of buying them outright.
People would pay a monthly fee depending on which device they are using – and would receive upgrades over time as the technology advances.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Newstalk Tech Correspondent Jess Kelly said the company has realised that subscriptions are “very much where the money is at” nowadays.
“On Newstalk Breakfast last week, we calculated that people - if you want the bells and whistles - for your TV, you’re paying around €1,500 a year.
“To buy an iPhone at the moment, if you want to go and buy it outright, it is going to cost you between €800 and €1,400.
“So, Apple is looking to see if there are other ways to get people to subscribe and that way they are guaranteed to come back because at the moment, if you go and buy an iPhone 13, that could last you for three or four years and Apple won’t get a cent from you in that time.”
She said the concept is still in its early stages, but it is “very much something that Apple is looking to develop”.
“If you want the latest iPhone but you don’t want to spend a huge amount of money, in theory what you could do is sign up to get the latest iPhone for six months, 12 months or 24 months and you are paying a monthly fee,” she said.
“Now, obviously, if anything happens to the phone during that period, you would be responsible.”
She said it will be “really interesting” to see how mobile networks respond to the idea.
“If you are a mobile network and suddenly one of the most popular devices in the world is going to be sold directly by the company and not by you, the mobile network, that is going to leave you massively short,” she said.
“We already know people are going back to pay as you go, we know there is the digital mobile networks that are far cheaper than the €80 price plans every month, so I would be very interested to see how the mobile networks respond to this.”
The details of the plan have yet to be worked out and Bloomberg reports that while Apple has been working on the subscription service for several months, it was recently put on the backburner in favour of its efforts to launch a “buy now, pay later” offering.
The paper said the new subscription service is still expected to launch at the end of 2022 or in early 2023.
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