updated 12:44 am EDT, Wed August 13, 2014
Selected stores could begin offering incentives as early as next week
A new report claims that a "significant number" of US Apple retail stores will begin offering carrier financing incentives from at least three of the four major carriers, beginning as soon as August 20.The financing plans, as previously reported, are offered by carrier offshoots such as Verizon's Edge or AT&T's Next, allow customers to include the cost of the iPhone itself spread out across a period of time, or what used to be called an "installment plan." The programs generally allow customers to upgrade phones more quickly than the full term of a contract.
In leaked slides first noted by 9to5Mac, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile's Jump initiatives are on board with the program (Sprint's similar EasyPay program is not part of the promotion at present). The slides also detail differences between the programs, such as noting that Jump customers can upgrade as soon as 50 percent of the current device is paid for (slightly lower than the others), but that there's also a $10 per month "early upgrade fee" that AT&T and Verizon do not charge.
The program's start date could be changed, as plans aren't yet complete, and Apple has not acknowledged the promotion as of yet. If true, it could help Apple reach its goal of selling more of its iPhones in-store, as opposed to carrier store and reseller booths where the iPhone is just one of a number of different companies' models. Customers who want an iPhone specifically are drawn to the Apple Stores because they are less prone to be pressured to buy some other device because the salesperson has incentives to steer customers to certain models.