Two years ago Apple started the iPhone Upgrade Program. Basically, you signed up to pay for an iPhone over two years with no interest but monthly payments include AppleCare. At the end of the two year period, you own the iPhone. Or, at the end of the first year the program gave you a new iPhone and the 24 monthly payments started again.
Not bad, right?
iPhone customers get a no-interest loan with affordable monthly payments and the only caveat was the price for AppleCare, which is built into the payment plan. Last year I walked into an Apple Store, picked up a new iPhone 7 Plus, erased my iPhone 6s Plus, stuffed it into a bag to return to Apple, and walked out of the store with a new iPhone. The whole process took about 12 minutes.
What’s not to like?
Well, here we are counting down to iPhone X and I’m ready to do the whole shebang over again, but this time Apple made the iPhone Upgrade Program even better. I used the Apple Store app on my iPhone to get to the pre-approval process which should make it easier and faster to order an iPhone X early Friday morning.
From a link in Apple’s promotional email for pre-approval, the Apple Store app already knew who I was, what iPhone I would trade in, and my credit card information for the iPhone Upgrade Program. All I had to do was select the iPhone X I want to buy. Once the pre-approval was setup all I have to do now is open the Apple Store app on my iPhone at the designated time, and press the order button.
Instead of having to walk through the typical iPhone purchase process which requires iPhone model selection, color selection, carrier selection, payment method, and delivery, all of that information has been stored by Apple, simply awaiting a few taps on the order button from me.
What about delivery? What about returning the old iPhone?
Apple seems to improve processes every year, too. From the Apple Store I will have the option for delivery to my home, or the option to pick up the new iPhone at a specific Apple Store. Returning the old iPhone is easy, too. Apple sends a box with prepaid delivery to return to Apple.
What’s not to like about that?
Without the iPhone Upgrade Program I would still buy a new iPhone each year and sell last year’s model to a friend, family member, or, last ditch effort, to Gazelle. I buy AppleCare, too. iPhone Upgrade Program lets me do all that, interest free, with a single purchase. This year, the program makes it easier to return the old iPhone and to have a new iPhone X delivered.
While iPhone Upgrade Program may speed up the purchase and delivery for current program customers this year, new customers to the program will need to be approved first during the purchase process, and that takes a few extra steps. And extra time.
Word on the streets is contradictory. I’ve read we should expect iPhone X’s to be in short supply. I’ve also read that Apple Stores will have a supply of iPhone X models on hand when stores open Friday morning.
Which is it? It doesn’t matter. iPhone Upgrade Program makes the upgrade much easier and faster. What we have not seen in recent years is a long line of iPhone customers waiting at each Apple Store. The whole pickup process is far more organized and efficient.
Remember what it was like to buy a new cell phone at carrier stores before AT&T hooked up with Apple for the iPhone in 2007?