The iPhone Upgrade Program is coming to the United Kingdom and China, Apple announced today. The Program was originally introduced last year as a way to encourage annual upgrades rather than the traditional two-year contract-based ones. And when it was launched, it was only available in the US. Not anymore, it seems.
Apple calls the iPhone Upgrade Program “the best way to own iPhone.” the service currently costs a flat fee of $32.41 a month in the US. Included in that price is a brand new iPhone every year — an unlocked phone, so you can take it to whichever carrier suits you better, according to Apple.
The program works by spreading out the cost of an iPhone over a two-year period. The difference lies in the fact that Apple offers an upgrade after just six months or 12 payments — if you trade in your new iPhone and start a new plan.
The iPhone Upgrade Program also includes AppleCare+ in its price, which gives you up to two years of hardware repairs, software support and accidental damage coverage — up to two incidents a year.
The caveat, of course, is that a screen repair requires a flat fee of $29, and any other damage requires a “tech co-pay” of $99 — still, cheaper than buying a whole new phone. Sold separately form the upgrade plan, AppleCare+ costs $129 per two-year period.
As Engadget points out, the program is an obvious way for Apple to keep people within its ecosystem. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a viable option for consumers who want to spread out the payments for a new phone.
The iPhone Upgrade Program is currently available for the recently announced iPhone 7 — so if you’re eyeing the new Jet Black iPhone and aren’t currently a member of the plan, now might be a good time to consider signing up.
Preorders begin at midnight on Sept. 9, and the iPhone should be shipped out around Sept. 16, Apple announced.