What's Up With Apple's New iPhone Upgrade Program?

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In a footnote to its big new product reveal, Apple announced a new iPhone Upgrade Program that looks very enticing. Extra emphasis on the word “looks” because some basic math reveals that the Apple’s new deal is not necessarily all that good.

Here’s Apple’s description of the new upgrade program:

Exclusively at Apple’s retail stores in the US, customers can choose their carrier and get an unlocked iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus with the opportunity to get a new iPhone annually and AppleCare+ on the new iPhone Upgrade Program with monthly payments starting at $32 (US) and $37 (US), respectively.


“Whoa! Just $32 a month and I get a new unlocked iPhone every year and AppleCare+,” you might think. Indeed, this is probably a better deal that your carrier’s installment program, but it’s not necessarily the best deal.

Lifehacker recently crunched some numbers and found that—as long as you sell your old one—you can basically upgrade your iPhone any time you want at minimal cost. The resale value for the old iPhones tends to be pretty high, so you’ll make back a decent amount of the $650 that a new iPhone would cost. On an annual basis, buying a new phone (with AppleCare+) and selling the most recent generation would cost about $260 based on Lifehacker’s recommendations versus $380 through Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program.


All that said, the decision to upgrade is seldom a simple one. Depending on your plan and your options, you might be able to get a better deal by cashing in on a carrier upgrade. Just be sure to do the math before committing to a 2-year loan, regardless of who’s offering it.

Image by Jim Cooke and Sam Woolley

Contact the author at adam@gizmodo.com.
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