Is the Apple iPhone upgrade program right for you?Choosing between Apple's iPhone upgrade program and what the carriers have to offer? Here's a guide on which may be right for you.
Apple now has its own iPhone upgrade program. It's leasing, not owning, with benefits and you can get a new phone every year. Instead of paying the carriers a monthly fee so subsidize the cost of your phone, you pay apple. This is on top of the cost of your data and voice service. With Apple's program, you sign up with one of the four US major carriers. The phone is unlocked, and you get AppleCare. This covers you for hardware repairs, software support, and two accidental damage incidents. But, is it right for you? Here are three different scenarios for three very different uses. To keeps things simple we're comparing prices for a 16GB iPhone 6S and not including the price of a wireless service. Remember, when you upgrade before you've paid off the entire lease period you have to trade in the phone, because you never owned it. Scenario 1, early adopter Erica. You're the type of user who upgrades every year and always buys AppleCare. Your minimum cost is $388.92 after the first year. Apple's program makes sense because after 12 months you can trade in your iPhone 6s and the leasing cycle. Starts again. Scenario 2. Frugal Frank. You're looking for the cheapest way to get an upgrade. Right now that's T-Mobile's Jump! On Demand plan. Pay $5 per month when you trade in your existing phone, otherwise it's $20 a month if you don't trade in. The minimum cost is $60 for the first year. Scenario 3. One carrier Wanda for regional coverage or other reasons you stick with one carrier but you still want a yearly upgrade. Sprint iPhone Forever plan will cost you $15 per month when you trade in your old phone, otherwise it's $22 per month. The minimum cost is $180 after your first year. Verizon and At&t don't technically have leasing programs. But if you sign on to a monthly installment plan you own the handset once all payments are made. AT&T's Next 12 Plan has the minimum cost of $390 after a year plus an upgrade fee to get a new phone. But if you want to be on Verizon and upgrade every year, you have Two options. Sign up with Apple's program or pay off the phone after 1 year. Sell it and use that cash to buy a new handset. Remember it's a competitive market out there, so prices and deals are always subject to change. These are some of your iPhone upgrade choices in a nutshell. It is complicated but hey, there's always Android. To find out more check out our full iPhone upgrade explainer at cnet.com. [MUSIC]