If you haven’t used Apple’s in-house payment plan for iPhones, the you might not understand why I’m a fan. I’ve used it for a few years now, after one year of AT&T’s Next. That last comment is one big reason why: it gets you de-coupled from your cell provider. That, and the fact that it offered me an easy way to upgrade my iPhone yearly by going directly to Apple were big reasons why I made the switch. Add in an easy way to spread out payments for AppleCare+ (now with optional Theft and Loss prevention), and I was sold.
It seemed like the program was just stuck in neutral for a few years, though. There were no other big advantages and Apple really didn’t do much to promote it publicly. Also, instead of having an easier time upgrading or getting some advantage because of using the program, I actually had a more difficult time upgrading in year two because i had to go to the Apple Store to return my previous year’s phone. That meant the only way to order your replacement was to reserve from your Store’s stock. If they were out, then you were out of luck.
I stuck with the program through the bumps in the road because I knew Apple would eventually work it out. I much preferred sticking with it and the flexibility of not having to worry about a cell contract or payment plan buyout. If I wanted to leave AT&T for Verizon or TMo, I could do it at any time.
As I thought they would, Apple eventually fixed the small issues with the iPhone Upgrade Program. Now we are able to ship our old phones back and pre-order online like everyone else. Unlike everyone else, starting last year iPhone Upgrade Program users were allowed to get pre-approval for their loan (that’s what the payment plan really is, a zero interest loan) and pre-select their devices. It really speeds up the process and was a smart move.
This worked great last year, as I only had to be online for a few minutes to get my preorder finalized and processed. Then I was able to roll over and go back to bed. This morning was even better. I went through my pre-approval and device selection last night and it was simple, just like last year. The only real difference was that I used my Apple Card so I can get 3% back for my payments this time around.
What made today even better than last year was what I wrote about a couple of days ago: sleep. No getting up in the early AM today. Preorders were at 7 AM Central, so I was able to process mine in less than a minute after I pulled into my parking spot at work. It really couldn’t be simpler. I take my hat off to Apple, because there have been times when they made pre-orders a lot harder than they should have been.
The improvements they have made to the process over the last three years tell me that Apple’s been listening to the criticism and working to address it. That certainly makes me want to stick with the iPhone Upgrade Program going forward. Now if they would just make programs like this for the iPad Pro and Apple Watch.