Yes, Apple has recently started making it very, very clear to readers of their website that you shouldn’t bother with an operator subsidy. Just pay for the phone across 6 months and continue to use your existing (PAYG?) deal.
Here’s the example they give:
Example: cash price of goods £510, amount of credit £510, 6 monthly payments of £85, total amount payable £510. (Typical 0% APR).
Now £85 a month is steep for the average consumer, but it’s not necessarily unobtainable. By way of example, if you want the phone for free — and we’re still conditioned to require this in the UK — then you need to commit to a 2-year contract on £50 per month on Orange.
This creates an inpass for many customers happy to pay £20 or £25 per month, but just don’t want a crazy-length contract. I’ve spoken with many normobs (“normal mobile users”) who would dearly love an iPhone but who only spend a low amount of money per month on their phone. Oh, they’ll go out and blow £50 on a meal without thinking, but they won’t ‘commit’ to £30+ per month, which typically rules them out of getting a decent subsidy. Even at £35 per month on a shorter 18-month contract, it’s still £229 for the handset.
But a 6-month finance agreement for £85 a month… I think that will bring a some more people into the iWorld. Here’s the page on the Apple site.
This 0% APR deal is, I imagine, subject to status — the concept being that if you’ve got negative ‘credit’ or even a little bit of dodgy credit history, then you’ll still qualify for a deal… just it’ll be at 17% APR or more. And perhaps over 9 months or 12 months.
Apple has been offering credit for their hardware for years — but it’s interesting to see them using this strategy so bluntly in reference to iPhone. I wonder if their consumer research has indicated there’s quite an untapped market. I doubt we’ll ever get any stats on how many people take up the facility though.
[Now and again I like to play the ‘how much’ game on the Apple Store site and see how much the most expensive Mac Pro configuration is. And then see how much that is per week on credit. If you’re wondering, you can have a 12-core Mac Pro with 4x 512GB solid state drives, 2x 27″ screens and a nice graphics card for £14,000 — yours for roughly £143 a week, on the basis of 20% APR over 36 months and Ewan’s rough fag-packet calculations].