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Hardware subscriptions – Apple wants to ‘auto-lease’ iPhones

It’s no secret that Apple has been pushing into the subscriptions business over the last few years. Services like Apple Music, Apple TV, et al now account for a sizable portion of Apple’s revenue – and according to the latest reports, it wants to start including iPhones, iPads, and more in its subscription bundles.

That means customers could forget purchasing Apple devices outright or buying them as part of a cell plan and instead pay a monthly fee to lease the latest tech, presumably trading in each model as new ones are released.

In principle, this isn’t much different from Apple’s existing iPhone Upgrade Program, but that program is supported by third-party banks and involves credit applications that may put off some customers. A flat monthly fee offered alongside existing app subscriptions – or even as part of a premium Apple One tier – could provide iPhone users with a much simpler route to ownership.

Of course, this would all help Apple keep people in its ecosystem longer, removing friction and potentially increasing revenue at the same time. If it comes up with some compelling bundles it could be win-win.

So is it likely we’ll actually see a hardware subscription in the not-too-distant future? Well, Mark Gurman from Bloomberg expects Apple to launch a hardware subscription service near the end of 2022, and Apple’s share price rose briefly after the news broke.

Bloomberg previously reported that Apple is working on a “buy now, pay later” system – but that’s not to say both options won’t see the light of day.