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Apple just made upgrading to a new iPhone more affordable than ever

Published Feb 18th, 2016 6:35PM EST
iPhone Upgrade Program

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Apple today rolled out a new trade-in program that makes it even easier and more affordable to upgrade to the latest and greatest iPhone. As a quick example, Apple’s previous upgrade program enabled eligible consumers to upgrade to an iPhone 6s for about $32/month for 24 months and to an iPhone 6S Plus for about $36/month.

Under the new program, appropriately called “Trade Up With Installments”, the cost of upgrading is made even more affordable when users trade in an older device, whether it be an iPhone, a damaged iPhone, an Android smartphone, or even a Windows Phone. In a way, Apple’s new program is a hybrid of its pre-existing upgrade program and the company’s reuse and recycling program.

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Originally reported by Ed Baig of USA TodayApple’s enhanced iPhone upgrade program will let users upgrade to a newer model for as little as $15 per month. Of course, the actual amount will be determined both by the trade-in value of whatever device consumers bring in-store and the device they want to upgrade to.

How much you pay depends on your trade-in scenario — the phone you’re giving up and its current condition, and the phone that you are buying.

You can trade in an iPhone dating back as far back to the iPhone 4. You’ll pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $15 a month for each step up in model, with the interest-free term again lasting for 24 months.

For example, if you step up from an iPhone 4 to an iPhone 5S, you’ll pay $14.58 a month for 24 months. If you move from an iPhone 6 to a 6S, the monthly tab is $14.54. To take the most extreme example, to move from the iPhone 4 to the largest-capacity (128 GB) iPhone 6S Plus, you’ll pay $35.37 a month.

If you prefer, you can get instant credit in an Apple Store for your old phone instead, with estimated trade-in values of about $100 for an iPhone 4 or 4S, $200 for a 5, 5C or 5S, $300 for an iPhone 6, or $350 for a 6S, again depending on condition.

It’s worth noting that any device intended to be traded in under the program must be fully paid off.

As Baig points out, the motivation behind Apple’s new upgrade plan is obvious; there are still boatloads of iOS users that are still using iPhone 5s, iPhone 5, and even iPhone 4s models. In fact, we highlighted just about a week ago that the iPhone 5s is surprisingly the second most popular iPhone model in use, accounting for 19.1% of all active iOS devices.

The full breakdown across all iPhone models as of this month is as follows:

  • iPhone 6 – 35.06%
  • iPhone 5s – 19.1%
  • iPhone 6s – 13.73%
  • iPhone 6 Plus – 8.54%
  • iPhone 5 – 7.64%
  • iPhone 5c – 5.87%
  • iPhone 6s Plus – 4.27%
  • iPhone 4s – 4.03%
  • iPhone 4 – 1.74%
  • Older iPhones – .03%

That being the case, Apple has every incentive in the world to motivate users to upgrade. If it can’t do that by touting new features like a bigger display and 3D Touch, then motivating users with cheap upgrade paths is a logical next step.

For a full chart detailing how much it costs to upgrade to a new iPhone model based on your current device, head on over to CNET where they put together an exhaustive and informative chart.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.


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