iPhone upgrade through Apple vs through carrier

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guitarguy
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iPhone upgrade through Apple vs through carrier

Post by guitarguy » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:56 am

So we're considering opting out of our AT&T next plan (24 installments, eligible for upgrade after 18 months) and going with the upgrade program directly from Apple (24 installments, eligible for upgrade after 12 months, and they tack on $129 to the price of the phone for their AppleCare+ coverage.

I chatted with at&t and they say there's no activation fee nor any change to our plan pricing. I emailed the chat to myself for insurance on that.

Any experience with the Apple upgrade program?

Seems like the equivalent of just leasing the phone...which in this day and age might not be the worst idea. Pay $35/m or whatever for eternity and we always have a new phone annually and it's covered by AppleCare. It seems like these things always start to go haywire at about 18-24 months of age. Wife's phone is starting to intermittently act up (charging oh wait not charging but now charging again) which is prompting us to upgrade. Either we stay with at&t next, or go over to the Apple program which gives you a new phone in shorter intervals.

* Not a discussion on whether the prices are worth it. We use our phones constantly, can afford them, and so forth.

Anyone have anything good/bad/indifferent to say about the Apple upgrade program?

Quickfoot
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Re: iPhone upgrade through Apple vs through carrier

Post by Quickfoot » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:01 am

Apple is the most expensive way to get an annual upgrade. If you have other carrier options consider switching, in particular Verizon does some really attractive offers on iPhones several times per year and price wise is about the same as T-mobile now (I have unlimited data, 4 lines and would save ~ $20 a month switching to T-mobile). I got an iPhone 7 Plus for $20 a month (normally $35) and an iPhone 7 (normally $30 a month) for $20 a month. With Verizon you qualify for an upgrade every 12 months.

Also take a look at BestBuy and Costco, they both offer good deals on AT&T and Verizon and typically what they do is apply part of their commission towards your phone so you wind up with a lower monthly payment.

Generally right around Christmas and Mother's Day and Father's day are good times to get phones.

guitarguy
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Re: iPhone upgrade through Apple vs through carrier

Post by guitarguy » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:06 am

Quickfoot wrote:
Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:01 am
Apple is the most expensive way to get an annual upgrade. If you have other carrier options consider switching, in particular Verizon does some really attractive offers on iPhones several times per year and price wise is about the same as T-mobile now (I have unlimited data, 4 lines and would save ~ $20 a month switching to T-mobile). I got an iPhone 7 Plus for $20 a month (normally $35) and an iPhone 7 (normally $30 a month) for $20 a month. With Verizon you qualify for an upgrade every 12 months.

Also take a look at BestBuy and Costco, they both offer good deals on AT&T and Verizon and typically what they do is apply part of their commission towards your phone so you wind up with a lower monthly payment.

Generally right around Christmas and Mother's Day and Father's day are good times to get phones.
Meh...not interested in switching carriers. Happy with our at&t bundle for phone internet and cable. Slight discount through my employer, good service, long time customers.

I feel like regardless you pay for the price of the phone somewhere...how many installments of that $20 payment...what is the price for your access line...etc...so I'm not buying that Apple is "more expensive" than any other place.

Interesting thing to me is what happens if you keep the phone longer than 12 months? Wife's phone is taking a crap 20 ish months in, but mine is fine. We're not about having the latest and greatest always, but once the phone starts acting up it needs to be replaced on the spot. Most times they don't catch it acting up when you go to trade it in and you end up with full "value" for the used phone.

Quickfoot
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Re: iPhone upgrade through Apple vs through carrier

Post by Quickfoot » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:12 am

You realize customer loyalty was designed to solely benefit companies and consumers are not rewarded for customer loyalty? It's a psychological exploit used to make consumers less price sensitive and more "sticky" and "bundling" is the same thing, we are taught how to take advantage of it in business school and neither are designed or intended to benefit or reward the consumer.

Apple is the most expensive because they don't offer discounts, the carriers subsidize the phones with discounts and BestBuy puts their commission towards the price. Having a little patience and understanding when networks are willing to cut into their profit (these discounts are from Verizon NOT Apple) can result in substantial savings

My access fee is $20 per month per phone, $110 per month for unlimited data. It's 24 installments at 0% interest, eligible for upgrade after 12 months (you can upgrade earlier if you pay a fee) but you can keep the phone as long as you want and you can pay it off early (2 out of 4 lines are paid off). Rather than trading in the phone you can pay it off and sell it locally which is what I did with my wife's 6s, I got $130 more for it than Verizon was going to give me and sold it in less than 4 hours.

Normal retail for my 7 plus (that I got ~ 2.5 months after it was released) was $869.69 but I'll only pay $480 and can keep the phone, saving $389.99 (44.84%) and normal retail for my wife's 7 is $649.99 but I'll only pay $479, saving $170.99 (26.3%) for a total two year savings of $560.99. I'm getting brand new iPhones for less than what I could purchase used ones for.
Interesting thing to me is what happens if you keep the phone longer than 12 months? Wife's phone is taking a crap 20 ish months in, but mine is fine. We're not about having the latest and greatest always, but once the phone starts acting up it needs to be replaced on the spot. Most times they don't catch it acting up when you go to trade it in and you end up with full "value" for the used phone.

At around 2 years the battery needs to be replaced, you can do it at Apple or any cell phone repair place for ~ $40-50 and then do a factory reset, this will solve 99% of problems that aren't hardware related (most aren't). You will have to set the phone up again but if you are doing iCloud backups it'll take only a couple minutes and it will download and install all your apps and data.

takeshi
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Re: iPhone upgrade through Apple vs through carrier

Post by takeshi » Mon Aug 21, 2017 1:44 pm

guitarguy wrote:
Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:06 am
I feel like regardless you pay for the price of the phone somewhere...how many installments of that $20 payment...what is the price for your access line...etc...so I'm not buying that Apple is "more expensive" than any other place.
It just depends on the details when one is looking to upgrade. We normally pay in full directly from Apple but last time Verizon was offering $650 trade in our iPhone 6 with an iPhone 7 purchase on their installment plan. Service cost was not increased -- we switched away from the subsidized/contract plans quite some time ago so we were no longer paying extra on service. Verizon happened to be a significantly better deal when were upgrading and Apple was more expensive that round. We'll see what happens when we're ready to upgrade the other iPhone.
guitarguy wrote:
Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:06 am
Interesting thing to me is what happens if you keep the phone longer than 12 months?
We upgrade each device every 2 years and never both devices in the same year. We've never had problems with our iPhones up to the point we trade or sell them. Of course, YMMV.

hillman
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Re: iPhone upgrade through Apple vs through carrier

Post by hillman » Mon Aug 21, 2017 2:29 pm

GuitarGuy, I wanted to bring something to your attention that may have no bearing on your situation. I participate in the upgrade program through Apple and have been happy with it so far (coming up on my first anniversary). I started the program with Sprint but jumped ship to Verizon two months ago.
Verizon does not/will not consider the phone a native phone meaning they will not provide any international support for the phone. This was an issue as we were traveling to Europe last month and were counting on just using Verizon's international options. I was very, very disappointed and frustrated with this development as there was no indication anywhere on the website of this limitation. There may be other limitations that I am not yet aware of.

aristotelian
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Re: iPhone upgrade through Apple vs through carrier

Post by aristotelian » Mon Aug 21, 2017 2:42 pm

Have you done the numbers to see if you would come out ahead buying a new phone cash (less funds received from selling your old phone on ebay) versus either upgrade program? I am naturally skeptical of any long term contract programs but you should run the numbers yourself to make a decision.

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jabberwockOG
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Re: iPhone upgrade through Apple vs through carrier

Post by jabberwockOG » Mon Aug 21, 2017 2:59 pm

Anyone having charging issues with their phone especially those that carry phone in a pocket most of the time should look carefully at their charging port on the phone. In almost every case the port itself will be packed full of pocket lint that is partially blocking the charging port and causing an intermittent connection with charger. Use a plastic dentil style pick to clean out all the impacted pocket lint and your phone will reliably charge again.

We tend to keep our iphones 2-3 years and then either trade them in to our carrier if they have a good deal on trade in offer or we sell them on ebay. Last cycle we just bought our new phones outright.

These days I can't see buying new phones every year because they don't get significantly that much better anymore to justify yearly replacement.

Apple and other makers are soon to be in serious trouble because current phones are so powerful now that there is less and less reason to trade every year other than for conspicuous consumption purposes.

theplayer11
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Re: iPhone upgrade through Apple vs through carrier

Post by theplayer11 » Mon Aug 21, 2017 5:52 pm

get Cricket, 5 lines for $100, they use ATT towers.
I never had paid the full price for new phones..many cheaper options. $650+, even in installments is ridiculous imo
edit- if battery not lasting after about 2 years, just get a new battery. Too many rush to get a new phone at this point when there really isn't a need.

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camillus
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Re: iPhone upgrade through Apple vs through carrier

Post by camillus » Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:54 pm

Look into virgin mobile. If you buy a new iPhone with them you can get unlimited everything with them for $1/year.

We bought iPhones last month with them and our cell phone bill was $0.16 this month, unlimited data.

guitarguy
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Re: iPhone upgrade through Apple vs through carrier

Post by guitarguy » Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:04 am

Wife decided she's going to go to the Apple Store and see about getting her phone fixed. Current issues are:

1. Charging intermittently stops when plugged in.
2. Phone switches from vibrate back to ringer regardless of where the switch is set.

If she can't get it fixed for a reasonable price she decided to look into another 6S model refurbished and pay cash.

guitarguy
Posts: 1686
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:10 pm

Re: iPhone upgrade through Apple vs through carrier

Post by guitarguy » Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:19 am

Quickfoot wrote:
Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:12 am
You realize customer loyalty was designed to solely benefit companies and consumers are not rewarded for customer loyalty? It's a psychological exploit used to make consumers less price sensitive and more "sticky" and "bundling" is the same thing, we are taught how to take advantage of it in business school and neither are designed or intended to benefit or reward the consumer.

Apple is the most expensive because they don't offer discounts, the carriers subsidize the phones with discounts and BestBuy puts their commission towards the price. Having a little patience and understanding when networks are willing to cut into their profit (these discounts are from Verizon NOT Apple) can result in substantial savings

My access fee is $20 per month per phone, $110 per month for unlimited data. It's 24 installments at 0% interest, eligible for upgrade after 12 months (you can upgrade earlier if you pay a fee) but you can keep the phone as long as you want and you can pay it off early (2 out of 4 lines are paid off). Rather than trading in the phone you can pay it off and sell it locally which is what I did with my wife's 6s, I got $130 more for it than Verizon was going to give me and sold it in less than 4 hours.

Normal retail for my 7 plus (that I got ~ 2.5 months after it was released) was $869.69 but I'll only pay $480 and can keep the phone, saving $389.99 (44.84%) and normal retail for my wife's 7 is $649.99 but I'll only pay $479, saving $170.99 (26.3%) for a total two year savings of $560.99. I'm getting brand new iPhones for less than what I could purchase used ones for.
Your line fee is $110 plus $20 per phone? Or $110 total and for how many phones?

I didn't realize the companies even offer subsidized phones and contracts anymore.

Re: consumer loyalty...when I find a company that I like I tend to stick with them until I find myself unhappy with the service and/or price. I also do feel like staying with a company longer gets you better service if there are any issues. YMMV.

Re: bundles...we get a tiny extra discount and more importantly for me everything in one bill. Not required but certainly nice for convenience.

KarenC
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Re: iPhone upgrade through Apple vs through carrier

Post by KarenC » Tue Aug 22, 2017 7:41 am

guitarguy wrote:
Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:04 am
Wife decided she's going to go to the Apple Store and see about getting her phone fixed. Current issues are:

1. Charging intermittently stops when plugged in.
2. Phone switches from vibrate back to ringer regardless of where the switch is set.

If she can't get it fixed for a reasonable price she decided to look into another 6S model refurbished and pay cash.
Regarding the intermittent charging:
There are a number of reasons why your iPhone might be having issues with charging. We've got a comprehensive guide to how to troubleshoot charging problems. You might have a bad cable or need to restore your software. You might even need to replace your charging port. Sometimes, though, the only problem with your charging port is that it is hella dirty.
https://www.imore.com/how-clean-your-ip ... rging-port
"How much you know is less important than how clearly you understand where the borders of your ignorance begin." — Jason Zweig

ERISA Stone
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Re: iPhone upgrade through Apple vs through carrier

Post by ERISA Stone » Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:01 am

On the Apple plan, don't you simply turn in your phone when you upgrade? If so, you are losing any equity you may have in your old phone.

guitarguy
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Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:10 pm

Re: iPhone upgrade through Apple vs through carrier

Post by guitarguy » Tue Aug 22, 2017 9:13 am

ERISA Stone wrote:
Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:01 am
On the Apple plan, don't you simply turn in your phone when you upgrade? If so, you are losing any equity you may have in your old phone.
Well they give you a reimbursement for turning it in. Probably not as much as you'd get for selling on the private market though.

guitarguy
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Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:10 pm

Re: iPhone upgrade through Apple vs through carrier

Post by guitarguy » Tue Aug 22, 2017 9:17 am

KarenC wrote:
Tue Aug 22, 2017 7:41 am
guitarguy wrote:
Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:04 am
Wife decided she's going to go to the Apple Store and see about getting her phone fixed. Current issues are:

1. Charging intermittently stops when plugged in.
2. Phone switches from vibrate back to ringer regardless of where the switch is set.

If she can't get it fixed for a reasonable price she decided to look into another 6S model refurbished and pay cash.
Regarding the intermittent charging:
There are a number of reasons why your iPhone might be having issues with charging. We've got a comprehensive guide to how to troubleshoot charging problems. You might have a bad cable or need to restore your software. You might even need to replace your charging port. Sometimes, though, the only problem with your charging port is that it is hella dirty.
https://www.imore.com/how-clean-your-ip ... rging-port
Thanks for the tip, will try cleaning the port! Seems like that's probably the issue.

ERISA Stone
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Re: iPhone upgrade through Apple vs through carrier

Post by ERISA Stone » Tue Aug 22, 2017 3:41 pm

guitarguy wrote:
Tue Aug 22, 2017 9:13 am
ERISA Stone wrote:
Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:01 am
On the Apple plan, don't you simply turn in your phone when you upgrade? If so, you are losing any equity you may have in your old phone.
Well they give you a reimbursement for turning it in. Probably not as much as you'd get for selling on the private market though.
Thanks. I would just weigh that in my analysis. Sometimes it's easier to give someone the phone and get, for example, $50 less in order to avoid the time and hassle of selling it yourself.

Quickfoot
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Re: iPhone upgrade through Apple vs through carrier

Post by Quickfoot » Tue Aug 22, 2017 3:57 pm

guitarguy wrote:
Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:19 am
Your line fee is $110 plus $20 per phone? Or $110 total and for how many phones?

I didn't realize the companies even offer subsidized phones and contracts anymore.

Re: consumer loyalty...when I find a company that I like I tend to stick with them until I find myself unhappy with the service and/or price. I also do feel like staying with a company longer gets you better service if there are any issues. YMMV.

Re: bundles...we get a tiny extra discount and more importantly for me everything in one bill. Not required but certainly nice for convenience.
I pay $110 base fee plus $20 a month access fee per phone, I have 4 lines but I could have up to date. Monthly device fees are extra so any phone on a payment plan increases the total monthly spend. All of the providers are still subsidizing the phones by occasionally offering deals where your monthly payment is lower the way they achieve this is by taking a loss on the phone. In my case Verizon is giving up about $624 in revenue to offer me cheaper iPhones. The difference is they only sometime offer these deals instead of all the time so you have to keep your eyes open, usually before or right after major holidays.

Quickfoot
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Re: iPhone upgrade through Apple vs through carrier

Post by Quickfoot » Tue Aug 22, 2017 3:59 pm

ERISA Stone wrote:
Tue Aug 22, 2017 3:41 pm
guitarguy wrote:
Tue Aug 22, 2017 9:13 am
ERISA Stone wrote:
Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:01 am
On the Apple plan, don't you simply turn in your phone when you upgrade? If so, you are losing any equity you may have in your old phone.
Well they give you a reimbursement for turning it in. Probably not as much as you'd get for selling on the private market though.
Thanks. I would just weigh that in my analysis. Sometimes it's easier to give someone the phone and get, for example, $50 less in order to avoid the time and hassle of selling it yourself.
If you use Glyde you just go on their website list it, when it sells they ship you a box and you ship it off and a few days later you get an EFT to your checking account, very simple. iPhones retain their value a lot better and are a lot easier to sell than Android phones, I listed my wife's on CL and had people that wanted to buy it within a couple hours and I was asking a little over what I thought was fair.

guitarguy
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Re: iPhone upgrade through Apple vs through carrier

Post by guitarguy » Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:11 pm

Quickfoot wrote:
Tue Aug 22, 2017 3:57 pm
guitarguy wrote:
Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:19 am
Your line fee is $110 plus $20 per phone? Or $110 total and for how many phones?

I didn't realize the companies even offer subsidized phones and contracts anymore.

Re: consumer loyalty...when I find a company that I like I tend to stick with them until I find myself unhappy with the service and/or price. I also do feel like staying with a company longer gets you better service if there are any issues. YMMV.

Re: bundles...we get a tiny extra discount and more importantly for me everything in one bill. Not required but certainly nice for convenience.
I pay $110 base fee plus $20 a month access fee per phone, I have 4 lines but I could have up to date. Monthly device fees are extra so any phone on a payment plan increases the total monthly spend. All of the providers are still subsidizing the phones by occasionally offering deals where your monthly payment is lower the way they achieve this is by taking a loss on the phone. In my case Verizon is giving up about $624 in revenue to offer me cheaper iPhones. The difference is they only sometime offer these deals instead of all the time so you have to keep your eyes open, usually before or right after major holidays.
I'm confused though. Aren't you trading the subsidized phone discount for a higher monthly payment fee? As far as I could find when we switched out of the discounted phone contract world and into the installment world, the phone discount was gone but the plan price went down so far that it worked out almost exactly the same. I ran the numbers to the penny when we last upgraded (18 mos ago).

Our plan base fee is only $25/m (compared to your $110) for unlimited call/text and plenty of data...not sure how many gigs - not unlimited - but it's more than enough for what we ever use. Then a phone access fee of $25 per phone, so we only pay $75 total for our 2 phone plan. And with my mega corp discount with at&t it's actually only $65/m.

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