Bottom line: Apple’s iPhone Upgrade plan makes financial sense if you want AppleCare+ and you plan to upgrade between 12 and 18 months, because AppleCare+’s cost is divided up among installments with this plan. Purchasing AppleCare+ in all other cases requires spending $99 upfront, whether or not you keep the phone for the full two years.
On a 12-month upgrade cycle, you would pay Apple $389.40, while you’d pay AT&T $488.40 ($32.45 per month on its 20-installment plan plus $99 for AppleCare+) and T-Mobile $423.50 ($27 per month plus $99 for AppleCare).
At 18 months, Apple would be $584.10, while you could use AT&T’s 24-installment plan ($27 a month) and pay $585. T-Mobile would be $585.75.
If you don’t plan on buying AppleCare+ or want to keep a phone for two years, carrier options are cheaper. And at two years, the total cost is identical including AppleCare+ and any carrier installment option.
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