Apple may be working on a hardware subscription service

It’s unclear how the in-development service — first reported by Bloomberg — would differ from the company’s current iPhone Upgrade Program.

Apple is working on a possible hardware subscription program, Bloomberg reports.

The service would charge a subscription “similar to paying a monthly app fee” Bloomberg writes, which would allow the subscriber to own Apple devices like the iPhone 13 without paying the full price upfront.

Services — Apple’s services have mostly been focused on media, with the Apple One subscription bundling individual access to services like Apple Music, Apple Arcade, Apple Fitness+, and Apple News+. The company does operate one limited form of hardware subscription called the iPhone Upgrade Program which it launched in 2015 that could be what this new service is based on.

Apple’s basic pitch for the iPhone Upgrade Program.Apple

iPhone Upgrade Program subscribers pay Apple a monthly fee for the cost of their new iPhone and Apple Care+ coverage over a 24-month period and get the privilege of upgrading their device every year when the company releases a new smartphone.

PAYMENT STRUCTURE — According to Bloomberg, the new service Apple’s building would be as easy as subscribing to iCloud, with new subscriptions managed with users’ pre-existing Apple ID log-ins and payment details. The major difference between the current iPhone Upgrade Program and the service Apple’s considering is in its payment structure:

...The monthly charge wouldn’t be the price of the device split across 12 or 24 months. Rather, it would be a yet-to-be-determined monthly fee that depends on which device the user chooses.

The company has also reportedly considered bundling Apple One and offering upgrades to new hardware when they’re released as part of the services' benefits.

It’s not clear if this hardware subscription will arrive anytime soon or if Apple is still considering it at all. Bloomberg’s report mentions the company may have paused its plans to focus on a “buy now, pay later” feature for Apple Pay.