Speaker 1: What if you never owned your phone? What if you just rented the most important device in your life? Paying a company a subscription fee every month for the right to access the newest shiniest hardware, but it's not really yours. Apple reportedly may have something like this in the works, an iPhone's subscription plan, turning in a $1,000 hunk of glass and metal into something that's treated like your Netflix bill. Apple would not be the first to play with different ways to do phone subscriptions. Google [00:00:30] and Samsung have introduced different hardware, monthly bills, bundled with services. But what would renting your iPhone look like? I have seen articles talking about how the idea could be great for people who can't afford the latest iPhones every year, or how it could save money by bundling lots of Apple services together and how it's great for Apple of course, because it gives us to keep giving Apple money even if we don't upgrade phones as often.
Speaker 1: I'm reading all this conjecture and the idea just isn't sitting well [00:01:00] with me and I want to talk it out with you. Maybe you can work it out with me in the comments below because something is missing from this chatter. What happens if we start supporting a payment system like this as normal and what power are we giving these tech companies? When you fork over cash month after month and you don't get to keep anything? Like it or not, companies are exploring new payment territory where they can keep collecting fees and you may not actually own your tech. I'm Bridget Carey, and this is one more thing. Let's [00:01:30] be clear. Apple has not officially announced any sort of iPhone subscription plan, but we can blame Bloomberg once again for a stirring up the chatter. Last year, Bloomberg's Mark Gerwin reported that Apple is working on a way for customers to lease iPhones like we lease cars.
Speaker 1: It did not launch yet, but Germin reported again this week that it should still arrive. Eventually. This would not be like the existing payment plans. Something you've seen at carriers where you pay for an iPhone through installments [00:02:00] over one or two years that is still owning the phone, just spreading out the payments over time. This is also different from Apple's current iPhone upgrade program in that system. It includes Apple Care plus and after 12 payments you can trade in your current iPhone to start a new plan with a new phone that starts at about $40 a month. It's more expensive with better phones, but the payments all go toward you owning the phone if you don't want to trade it in. The issue in the industry [00:02:30] overall is that customers are not upgrading their phones as frequently. We are holding onto our phones longer, including yours.
Speaker 1: Truly, I'm part of that trend. I'm the problem. It's me. I have an iPhone 12 pro and I am perfectly content not living on dynamic island. So how does Apple get people to want to dish out more money to them? When iPhones are so good, you don't need to upgrade. Enter the reported subscription program. Something that gets you a new phone more often if you trade it in and to entice you. Maybe [00:03:00] with lump in access to a bunch of Apple services like music and TV plus and iCloud storage. It's yet another type of subscription bundle, assuming you don't already have subscription overload in your life, but this would let customers maybe upgrade to a new phone more frequently. I think the key factor here that is driving me nuts is wondering what will happen to your phone if you stop paying for the plan.
Speaker 1: If you don't pay for Netflix, it shuts off. Is someone shutting down access to your phone if you don't pay for your car, there are car repo [00:03:30] men, so are there gonna be iPhone repo men? This is going to be a very sticky area for Apple to figure out. So let's look to how Google is playing around with new types of payment plans. Here is a service called Pixel Pass. It bundles the cost of a new pixel phone together with a bunch of Google services, but all those payments do go toward the cost of owning the Pixel phone. And then there's also Samsung Access. It's a monthly subscription that gets you the newest Galaxy Phones, a protection plan, a terabyte [00:04:00] of OneDrive, cloud storage, and Microsoft Office apps. If you cancel the website says you just have to return your previous phone in good condition and based off of the reporting it seems you can still make enough payments to own the phone.
Speaker 1: YouTuber, Greg's TV has some videos break you down how some of the Samsung financing plans worked. If you wanna dive in more, you can watch that. Now, renting hardware with software is also something Peloton does. If you can't afford a bike outright, you could just rent it out for about $90 a month and if you cancel, [00:04:30] they'll pick up the bike or you could buy it out if you wanna keep it. So maybe Apple's gonna follow this pattern and also let you eventually own a phone after enough payments. But you have to keep in mind, apple already has an iPhone upgrade program. Apple already has Apple one, which bundles services together. So why would Apple need another subscription service? Unless the whole point is that you are paying less than owning just to always trade it in and paying less means. Also having your whole life linked to Apple Services is [00:05:00] the point for Apple to just get more new iPhones out into the world.
Speaker 1: More people treated in perfectly good phones to get something more fresh. It doesn't seem like a very sustainable thing. We don't need more phones in the world for the sake of it. The other twist is that Apple can get more customers to dish out money for more expensive phones. Models of iPhones that may be out of the normal budgets. There's been buzz that Apple's working on some more expensive ultra version of the iPhone that could be an extra 200 [00:05:30] or $300 more than the already high-end models. So how do you get more customers to buy an ultra? You rent it. Maybe I'm feeling weird about it because I am going through this rabbit hole of rental fees for a tool of mass communication. It feels like Apple could be crafting a new type of grip on your digital life that you didn't pay your Apple bill this month, which is tied to your phone, your iCloud, your music, your TV programs.
Speaker 1: Let's not forget Apple's credit card and the Apple Wallet. So could Apple just in a snap cut [00:06:00] you off if you leave the program? Keeps you feeling logged in now, doesn't it? Unless you have the option to pay to buy the hardware outright. It's easy for me to get negative here because of how we're paying more and more for digital streaming rates, will never actually owning the music or the movies, and any moment a company can just take away access to something in our online library, you know what? Nothing has been announced yet. Maybe I just need to take a breather. I should just channel the positive energy of CNET [00:06:30] mobile reporter Lisa et a Chico. She wrote a whole commentary about how this could be a good thing. Come on, Bridget. Just think what would Lisa tell you right now?
Speaker 2: Bridget, I know it's easy to get caught up in the what ifs, but hear me out for a second. What if this ends up being a really good thing? The tech industry has an e-waste problem and people just aren't recycling their phones enough. What if this program encourages people to trade in their iPhones more often? That would give Apple [00:07:00] more used phones that it can strip down and repurpose for parts and maybe Apple could even refurbish those phones and sell them at cheaper prices. That would be a good thing, right? And on top of that, what if this program ends up being a cheaper way to actually get a brand new iPhone and some Apple Services bundled in there? Now of course we don't know anything yet. It all depends on the price, but all I'm saying is take a deep breath and wait for those answers.
Speaker 1: Thanks Lisa. She has a way of making you feel enlightened. There [00:07:30] are so many questions and we'll have to see how Apple could roll it out. Maybe launch it with the next iPhone, or it could be something for more than iPhones. Maybe that expensive VR headset in the works could be something you make monthly payments to rent. Let me know in the comments how a subscription plan would sit with you. Is it something cool? Would it depend on how much you need the best Apple gear in your life? And we are already so tethered to Apple Land. What's another subscription, right? <laugh>? Uh, yeah. Thanks for watching.