Trying to decide between Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program vs. AT&T 2yr Subsidy pricing

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by melman101, Sep 12, 2015.

  1. melman101 macrumors 68030

    Sep 3, 2009
    Hey all,
    I'm worndering if anyone is in the same bind.

    I have an unlimited data plan along with my wife. My wife, being primary, used to be able to get a new iPhone every year, and she used to do that. They then changed it. Now we are both on the 2 year upgrade cycle on the 5S and going for the 6S.

    This morning, we ordered 128gb iPhone 6S Plus from AT&T. Total cost was $545 or so.

    Now, I'm thinking maybe I should have done the iPhone Upgrade Pricing with Apple instead.

    Pros of Apple UP

    1. New iPhone every year
    2. AppleCare+
    3. Unlocked iPhone
    4. Ability to switch carriers at any time since my contract is up.

    Cons of Apple UP
    1. Full price for phone
    2. Never stop paying if you want new iPhone's every year.

    So, when you think about it, the IUP is $44.91 a month. $44.91 x 12 months = $538.92 (which is actually cheaper than the AT&T subsidy). And this includes AppleCare+!

    So is it just me when I think it's a no brainer to switch to the Apple Upgrade Program?

    I have both on order. The AT&T one is slated for Oct. 16-23rd for both Space Grey and Rose Gold. However, the Apple one, we reserved this morning when we woke up so my wife didn't get Rose Gold, she got regular Gold. She's a bit upset, but I keep telling her she's gonna put a case on it, it ain't gonna matter the color.

    Anyhow, anyone else in this same dilemma? What are you planning on doing?
  2. Mackneezie macrumors regular


    Nov 26, 2011
    Winchester, KY
    I'm going with the Apple UP - I also have the unlimited data plan but I just don't use it as much as I used to. I have always gotten the new iPhone the day they came out so this plan fits me well. I don't mind paying monthly for the phone it will end up being the same amount of money I pay now I just lose my data plan. Getting AppleCare+ is also a huge plus (no pun intended ;)) you're pretty much guaranteed to have a working pristine phone forever if they keep this plan going.

    I went from a 128gb iPhone 6 to a 64gb 6s - I also don't use as much space on my phone as I did before haha. Deleted all of my movies off of it so that'll save me a couple dollars a month from getting the 128gb.
  3. melman101 thread starter macrumors 68030

    Sep 3, 2009
    Yeah, it just seems like it makes more sense to actually go with the Apple Upgrade Program this time around. It sorta seems counter intuitive. But we always trade in our phones cause we don't like selling stuff. So this will allow us to trade in the phone every year, etc.

    I think it makes so much sense to do it this way instead. I may just cancel my AT&T order. Gotta decide this week.
  4. Cuniac macrumors 6502a

    Jan 23, 2013
    If you do Apple Upgrade program carriers will give you money off your monthly bill when doing month to month as your not paying them to subsidies the phone. Most carriers give $15 a month, some offer more if you subscribe to more data. So $15 over two years is $360, plus the AppleCare+ at $129 makes your savings total $490. That is more then half the cost of an iPhone no matter what phone you choose. So you would save money no matter what and you get a new phone every year.
  5. brianric macrumors regular

    Jul 30, 2011
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but looking at Apple's upgrade program you are paying for Apple Care. For a 64 GB 6S Plus the payments are $40.75 for 24 months, which comes to $978, $849 for the phone $129 for Apple Care. The only break you do get is if you upgrade every year is Apple Care comes to $64.50 a year. You are correct at least in my case is $15 a month off my bill when I paid my present phone off at Verizon.
  6. appygirl82 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 4, 2012
    I am definitely going with Apple Upgrade Program after the online chat with the idiot AT&T rep.

    Basically she told me a bunch of lies. I just left the Apple Store and they confirmed what I thought was correct (what AT&T lied about):

    Apples program is completely separate from any carrier. You're essentially getting a "loan" for the phone thru a creditor. I will need to keep my service for a little while thru AT&T as I'm still under contract. However, the phone itself isn't AT&T's phone and they have no say in it. Apple confirmed that it does not matter if you are eligible for an "upgrade" or not. The phone is financed separately.

    I have 5 lines and was going to use my 2 lines that are currently eligible for the Next program. I planned to move those phones over to my 2 primary lines and slowly let those "extra" lines contracts run out and cancel them. She tells me that if I upgrade using those lines the Next plan installment agreement is stuck to that line. So I could not cancel the line without an ETF. That makes zero sense. Doing the plan, a person is paying the phone monthly or completely....regardless of what line it's attached to.

    She tells me Apple will not sell me a iPhone using their plan without an upgrade available. That couldn't be further from the truth. They don't own my phone.

    Needless to say....I'm using Apple's program. It's about the same monthly anyway and I get the AppleCare. And when my contracts are over I very well may say buh bye to AT&T. I've lost count on how many times I've had to school them on their own plans/upgrades etc!
  7. Cuniac macrumors 6502a

    Jan 23, 2013
    lol your right hahaha. Well its still $360 a month so it may be a little bit more depending on what phone you get. With the plan I'm on with Verizon, having the 10GB pushes me to getting $25 off instead of $15 and that gives me $600 a year in savings, even without the AppleCare+. So personally I still make out ok lol :p
  8. melman101 thread starter macrumors 68030

    Sep 3, 2009
    Anyone else with this decision? We are leaning towards it.
  9. JustMadeThisNameUp macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2015
    My first iPhone was a 32 gig iPhone 5s, all the extra space came in real handy. I had a 64 gig iPhone 6 and I found myself being afraid to put anything on it because I didn't want to have to delete it later. I too often have to sync to iTunes to swap things on and off.

    I got the 128 gig iPhone 6s Plus, I'm going to be taking a lot of Live Photos and experiment a lot with apps that will take advantage of the camera's OIS. I will not use 4k to record 4k video but I will take advantage of it for the sake of having some extra zoom. I will also keep lossless music on there so I won't have to deal with using my data to stream over Apple Music and Spotify. My iPhone will be more my most important device than ever before and the memory will come in handy. And worst case scenario next year when the 7 comes out I'll just sell my phone and get a cheaper 7 Plus.
  10. Mackneezie macrumors regular


    Nov 26, 2011
    Winchester, KY

    That's pretty much how I started out. Had the original iPhone, then when the larger sizes started becoming available I got the biggest I could get. 128 gig is just huge for a phone! I take A LOT of pictures and stuff but I just don't think I'll reach that limit but will definitely see how it goes for next years upgrade time :)
  11. jimbo1mcm macrumors 68000

    Mar 21, 2010
    Usually went with the carrier( Verizon) but I also usually got a new phone each year. Going the Apple Upgrade route and sit back and get a shiny new phone each year. Nice to look forward to each September
  12. Guyver423 macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2010
    I'm in the same boat too, but technically contract isn't over till next year.
  13. DoofenshmirtzEI macrumors 6502a


    Mar 1, 2011
    Yeah, never ever rely on what a carrier rep tells you.
  14. melman101 thread starter macrumors 68030

    Sep 3, 2009
    I definitely cancelled my AT&T order. Going with iPhone Upgrade Program
  15. Daniel L, Sep 18, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2015

    Daniel L macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2009
    You're missing a huge point in your calculation. After one year of paying $538.92, you have to trade in the phone to get a new one. With the AT&T subsidy you own/keep the phone. ( You can resell it for a bunch of money back ($800+ in that case) or give it to a spouse/child.

    So let's say you really like the iPhone 7 and know you will be content with it for a few years. To calculate the true cost of it you factor in your trade in (800+538.92x2) = almost $1900 out of pocket to keep the phone. It's more convenient to use the Apple upgrade program if you want a new iPhone every year but it's definitely not cheaper.
  16. melman101 thread starter macrumors 68030

    Sep 3, 2009
    Absolutely agree with you on that. I'm not missing it at all though.

    1. We have always traded in our old phones for subpar money. I'm not dealing with craigslist nor ebay. Just can't do it.

    2. Having the newest phone is definitely not a necessity that is for sure, but it sure will be easy to trade it in, and deal with $90 bucks a month (2 iPhone 6S Plus 128gb), then to deal with $1100 bucks at a time. That's not to say we can't afford it, but we can definitely spread the cost out over time, and in time, we get a new phone.

    The sheer honesty of it is, if we could buy a new iPhone 6S Plus for $500 bucks this year, and then trade it in next year, and get the iPhone 7 Plus for like $200-$300 dollars without the hassle of dealing with selling it, and the hassle of AT&T contracts, we would do it.

    But the fact of the matter is, this is the simplest and most convenient way to get a new iPhone every year, albeit, probably one of the most expensive ways.


    And I just want to say that I was looking at the AT&T Next prices, and I was shocked to see that it's monthly rate was actually higher than the Apple plan if you want to trade the phone in in 12 months.

    Apple's price is $44.91

    AT&T Next 12 Month - $47.50
  17. Kendo macrumors 68000

    Apr 4, 2011
    Why the hell would anyone go with Apple's upgrade program or any upgrade program when they have unlimited data with subsidized pricing? Even if you never got a $200 iPhone and were stuck with the unlimited plan, that plan (with the hidden subsidy fee) is still 10X better than any plan out there today. The fact that you get a $200 iPhone is like putting the sweetest icing ever on a cake.

    If you want a new iPhone every year, I'd still stay with the subsidized price because although you get a $200 iPhone every 2 years, if you enter a new contract every year, you still get a discount and pay $450 for an iPhone instead of $200.
  18. chabig macrumors 601

    Sep 6, 2002
    Comparing phone plans isn't easy. I agree that Melman's math is wrong. He didn't pay $545 for his iPhone 5S Plus. That might be his up front cost, but he forgot to account for what he'll he will be paying each month over the life of his phone.

    The monthly price for a 128GB iPhone 6S Plus on the Next/12 plan is $47.50 for 20 months. If he trades in the phone after 12 months, he will have paid $570 and he will not keep the phone. If he completes 20 payments, he will get to keep the phone (he bought it!) and will have paid $950. This price does not include AppleCare.

    For the same phone, Apple will charge $45/mo ($44.91 actually), and it includes AppleCare. If he trades it in after 12 months, he will have paid $540 and he will not keep the phone. He won't own the phone until he makes 24 payments, totalling $1080. The difference between owning the phone for $1080 and owning the phone for $950, is $130, which is the price he pays for AppleCare. At the 12 month point, the Apple plan is a much better deal because he will have paid less and he will have been covered by AppleCare the entire time.
  19. melman101 thread starter macrumors 68030

    Sep 3, 2009
    Because, we don't want to be locked into a 2 year contract with AT&T. We don't want to be held to their "upgrade policies" that time and time again screwed us.

    And if you upgrade early out of your contract with AT&T, you are still paying a lot of money up front.

    We are hoping that this way, we also don't have to pay the $45 dollar upgrade fee, but that may happen.

    Again, this is not to say we couldn't afford it. Hell I bought the phones on subsidy first. But I then cancelled that.

    Oh, and this doesn't affect my unlimited plan, naturally.


    Exactly my point. In 12 months I would have paid less for the phone with AppleCare+ then if I would have bought it on subsidy.

    Granted, I am now paying for "year 2" instead of just holding on to "year 1". And it's really not an option at that point to keep the phone, because then the subsidy option would have been the better choice, but clearly we can keep the phones if we wanted to.

    But the fact of the matter is that getting a new iPhone every year is a huge benefit. And although I am a wannabe Apple Developer, if they release some feature that I feel like I could do something really great with, then I would like to be on that model of phone without waiting for my AT&T Upgrade.
  20. chabig macrumors 601

    Sep 6, 2002
    That's why I'm going with Apple's Upgrade plan.

    I get what you're saying here, but I still don't look at the AT&T plan as a better choice. You pay AT&T full price for the phone without AppleCare. You pay Apple full price for the phone with AppleCare. The cost of the phone works out the same. The only difference is the AppleCare.
  21. DravenGSX macrumors 6502a

    Aug 20, 2008
    This is not true for most people. I'm guessing that VERY few people go over 30GB of data usage per month. A family share plan with 30GB of data with 2 people on it, is cheaper than 2 lines with unlimited data. In addition, you are provided with a $25/mo discount for not having a subsidized phone.

    So let's do the calculations correctly:
    Unsubsidized discount: $25 * 24 mo = $600
    Subsidized discount for 16GB iPhone 6S+: $450 ($649-$199)

    You save $150 over the life of the contract but not using the subsidy. In addition, you save the plan cost by switching to mobile share and not paying for unlimited data that you're most likely not taking advantage of anyway.

    Obviously, there are exceptions to the rule and for some, it doesn't make sense. For most, particularly those with multiple lines, it is actually cheaper to take advantage of the 0% financing offered and take the BYOD discounts.
  22. melman101 thread starter macrumors 68030

    Sep 3, 2009
    If you get it on 2yr contract subsidy, you'd pay $499.99 + $129 for applecare for $629 for the phone instead of $1078 or whatever it comes out too. So you are effectively saving $450.

    It's the yearly upgrades that make it work out better, because it only comes out to $538 or something.


    However, I think we are both on the same side. :) Apple Upgrade Program is the way to go for me.
  23. Kendo macrumors 68000

    Apr 4, 2011
    Yes but to my understanding he is keeping his unlimited plan. I understand if you have a family plan maybe it makes sense to go with a mobile share plan. But if you're keeping the same unlimited plan and simply foregoing the subsidized price and buying it outright (or on an installment plan), that doesn't make sense.
  24. chabig macrumors 601

    Sep 6, 2002
    You can't ignore the extra $25/mo you have to pay for your service when you are on contract. That's another $600 on top of the $629.
  25. DravenGSX macrumors 6502a

    Aug 20, 2008
    I agree completely. It almost never makes sense if you are keeping your unlimited data. I would encourage anybody that thinks they need unlimited data to review the mobile share plans and their usage and be realistic. I would be shocked if more than 5% of people with unlimited data use more than 30GB/mo.

Share This Page