Apple: Finance your phone from us, not the operator

Rarely nowadays do I ever watch an Apple keynote live. The company has gone to great lengths to make this even easier and more reliable than previous years, however I do need the ability to skip so I can avoid the fanboy clapping interludes.

I was more than happy to tolerate a bit of whooping when the new iPad Pro was announced. But I really don’t like it when the audience claps and whoops almost every bullet point. Although it is always interesting to ponder at those moments when the presenter is expecting a loud whooping cheer but doesn’t get one. I always like to dwell on those points a little longer to examine the disconnect.

Screenshot 2015-09-10 10.02.44

I was rather pleased to see Apple has decided to wade straight into traditional operator territory and start offering iPhones on a pay-monthly basis, with a new iPhone every year.

They’ve been doing a little bit of this for quite a while in many different territories, but the consumer has had to manage the end-stage themselves.

So for example, here in the UK you’ve been able to finance your iPhone purchase directly through the Apple UK website. It looks like a bit of a faff. And the rather unpleasant bit is the final logistics bit — once you’ve financed the phone, you’re fine, but then when the new one comes out, you then need to figure selling the phone, settling the existing ‘finance’ balance and then buying your new one.

It looks like Apple has decided to smooth out that process end-to-end. I’m a fan of that. I’ve actually been recommending this approach to multiple handset manufacturers for years. None has listened. So if you’re one of the executives I was haranguing about this … there you go. Told you.

It looks like this is only being offered in the States at the moment based on what I’m reading on the Apple website.

Here’s how it works:

You are given the unlocked iPhone 6S 16GB.

You agree to pay $34/month for 24 months.

This price includes Applecare — which is seriously useful if you crack/lose your phone.

After 24 months, the phone is yours.

However after 12 months, you can swap the existing device and get a new one.

Which is what I’m doing anyway. At the moment, I buy my devices unlocked and then sell them when the new one comes out. If Apple will guarantee and manage those logistics for me instead, great.

This process will make it exceptionally simple for people to stop using their operator to finance their phone purchase. It will also — crucially — ensure that Apple’s customers are able to buy a new iPhone every year, rather than be tied into the now traditional multi-year operator contracts.

It’ll be really interesting to see how many people choose this offering.

And I’d love to see Apple extend this facility to their other products such as laptops…

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