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The iPhone Upgrade Program: Is It Worth It?

iPhone Upgrade program

The iPhone Upgrade Program

When the iPhone Upgrade program was announced at the September 9th Apple Event it caught  my attention.  I’m using an iPhone 5s at the moment and I’m in the market to move up to the iPhone 6s Plus.  I usually upgrade about every two years which leaves me feeling left out about 13 months into my purchase. 

The way I understand this is you sign up and pay $32 per month and overtime Apple releases a new version of the iPhone, yours is replaced with the latest and greatest Apple has to offer.  Sounds good but actually the prices are as follows:

iPhone 6s                    iPhone 6s Plus

16GB    $32.41/mo.     $36.58/mo.

64GB   $36.58/mo.     $40.75/mo.

128GB $40.75/mo.      $44.91/mo.

In my opinion, 16 Gigs on an iPhone will lead  to a pretty dismal experience so that option is off the table.

A new iPhone every year and coverage from AppleCare+ still has me interested.  So let’s look a little deeper.  When I upgrade it will be to the 128 gig 6s Plus so the monthly on that model will be $44.91 per month according to Apple’s iPhone upgrade program page.  $44.91 is $538.92 per year.  This iPhone will sell for $949 if you purchased it outright from Apple, so the difference is $410.00.  Not bad, but when I consider that I am currently buying a new phone every two years this begins to feel expensive. 

My carrier is AT&T.  Using their eligibility checker, it turns out that the new iPhone 6s Plus 128 GB will cost $949.00 with a no contract.  A 20-month installment option costs $47.45 per month, which equals $949.00 and the end of 20 months. They offer 24 and 30-month installment options as well, but all will result in the iPhone costing you $949 at the end of the term.  Not a good deal.  Apple’s upgrade program is looking better to me.

Let’s face it, you’re getting the state of the art Smartphone with maximum capacity, and protection through Apple Care for $538.92 per year.  The only way I see doing a bit better is to purchase the iPhone outright and hold on to it for two or more years, but then you’re missing out on the advancements every year.

I’m taking this upgrade program seriously.  Next I need to have a look at the top carriers and see what plans will be available at this price.

I just got off the phone with Verizon and they tell me that their plan is no contract and the cost of the plan I’m interested in is as follows:

  • 18 Gigs of shared data = $80 per month
  • Each phone line is $20 per month

An installment plan for the iPhone 6s Plus is about $39 per month. (they couldn’t give me an exact price because the phone is not shipping yet)

There is a $100 credit per line and they’ll buy back my existing iPhone.

All in all a pretty attractive deal, but you lose the auto upgrade to a new iPhone every year.

I need to give this some more thought. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this so feel free to post your comments.

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Carmine Delligatti-Drummer, former Support Manager for Deneba Software, ACD Systems, Mareware, Inc. and Swiss Made Marketing. Avid technology blogger and Managing Editor of Cupertinotimes.com.