Apple is working on hardware subscription service for iPhone, other products

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Apple is reportedly working on a subscription service that will allow users to purchase iPhones and other hardware products for a monthly fee — but how this differs from purchase vectors isn’t clear.

The service would be Apple’s biggest push in recurring revenue streams, essentially bringing the company’s Services model to its lucrative hardware business. However, the project is still under development and the initiative has yet to be announced, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

It is not the first time that there are rumors about a hardware subscription. Analysts have long believed that such a service, which could include bundled services, would be a natural choice for Apple.

The report isn’t clear on how the service will differ from the existing Apple iPhone upgrade program, buying a device with monthly payments on an Apple Card, or buying a phone with monthly payments through a carrier.

All three serve the same purpose, making each program launched mostly a marketing exercise — unless Apple adds an extra benefit to its hardware subscription.

Of course, there are subtle differences between monthly Apple Card payments and the iPhone upgrade program.

First, users don’t need to purchase AppleCare with Apple Card payments. When payments end, users eventually take ownership of their devices if they were purchased with an Apple Card. In the iPhone upgrade program, users have the option to exchange their device after six months or 12 payments.

The subscription service is expected to debut in late 2022, with a possible launch in 2023.

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