Apple is reportedly working on hardware subscriptions for its devices: Think iPhone rental. Unlike installment plans, which Apple has offered since 2015, the subscription would be more like a lease program with the option to upgrade devices periodically.
In 2015, German entrepreneur Michael Cassau was in need of some gadgets for an apartment he was planning to occupy for a few months. Buying seemed wasteful, considering the cost of new devices and the environmental impact associated with manufacturing new ones.
But renting, an obvious option, simply wasn’t available. So Cassau founded Grover Group GMBh, a gadget rental company based in Berlin…
“The sustainability impact for us is aligned with profitability,” explained Thomas Antonioli, Grover’s CFO, in a call from Berlin a few days after announcing its latest fundraising round. “Because the longer we can keep a device in a rentable state, keep it in circulation, the better it is for us.”
The service is straightforward. A customer chooses the rental duration, and has the option along the way to purchase the device outright (around 10% do). Across the entire product line, the average rental duration is one year, and devices circulate for 3–4 years.
For phones, that’s a life cycle far longer than the duration that most first owners hold onto phones…
If, as seems likely, Apple launches the business, it will have a powerful internal motivation to design durable devices that can be rented and sold multiple times. Other technology companies, keen to capture their own piece of the emerging rental business, will need to compete on a similar basis.
MacDailyNews Take: Of course, an iPhone – and/or iPad, Mac, etc. – subscription service would be an optional way to get the hardware, in addition to the usual product sales, outright and subsidized.
$99 per month gets you an iPhone and every Apple service. Presented like that, it’d be insanely irresistible. And every “new to iPhone” customer will immediately and irrevocably be steeped in Apple’s Hotel California ecosystem… We bet if Apple offered iPhones along with services bundled into one monthly fee – offer tick boxes for Apple TV+, Apple News+, Apple Arcade, Apple Music, iCloud Storage, etc. – they’d have a winning sales strategy (Apple Prime) on their hands! — MacDailyNews, September 11, 2019
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