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Apple introduces iPhone upgrade program

Apple is helping customers who want to upgrade to the latest iPhone every year with a new iPhone upgrade program.

This story is part of Apple Event, our full coverage of the latest news from Apple headquarters.
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Apple introduced a new device financing program for the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus CNET/James Martin

Apple will offer its own device upgrade program for customers who want to buy a new iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus without agreeing to a carrier contract.

The new program will allow customers to upgrade to a new iPhone every year for a monthly fee, the company announced at its event in San Francisco on Wednesday. This is the first time that Apple has offered a device upgrade program.

"You get a new iPhone every year; you choose your carrier; it's an unlocked phone," said Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple. "It starts at just $32 a month. It's a 24-month installment, but you can get a new iPhone every single year."

The new program, which was only announced for the US as yet, comes as wireless operators are moving away from traditional two-year contracts and the device subsidies that come with those plans, and instead are requiring customers to pay full price for devices. T-Mobile was the first major US carrier to abandon contracts more than two years ago. Verizon recently announced it is doing away with the two-year contract for new customers. AT&T and Sprint still offer the option to subscribe to a two-year contract, but they also offer device financing and leasing programs.

Because premium phones like the iPhone come with hefty price tags -- starting at $650 for the iPhone -- carriers have offered no-interest payment plans. T-Mobile and Sprint also offer leasing programs. Sprint recently announced a plan that allows customers to lease a new iPhone for $15 a month with the option to upgrade at any time.

Apple said it will still offer iPhones for customers who still want traditional two-year contracts. The pricing for new iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus will be the same as last year's model, starting at $650.

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