Editor’s Desk: Has the time come to rent iPhones?

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Editor's Desk: Has the time come to rent iPhones?

Source: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

With Apple’s spring event in the rearview mirror and its new devices now arriving for customers, this started as a slow week in tech. And then Thursday hit. That’s when Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman said that Apple might soon let people subscribe to a hardware package for the first time. If this rumor is correct, it could become a game-changer and a fast one. The first subscription could be announced as early as September. We also heard about the 2023 MacBook Air, which might come with a new name, and learned more about the recently released Mac Studio.

Will Apple become Rent-a-Center?

In recent years, Apple has increasingly relied on subscriptions to pad the bottom line as iPhone sales growth has inevitably slowed. Until now, those subscriptions have been for digital content only, such as music, games, and fitness lessons. In just a few months, Apple could reveal its first hardware subscription plan directly tied to the upcoming iPhone 14 series. That’s right; we could soon rent iPhones.

According to Gurman, Apple’s working on a subscription service that would bundle iPhone or other hardware products and its current digital packages such as Apple Music and Apple Arcade. You get all this for one monthly fee.

Beyond the headline, Gurman didn’t offer specifics on Apple’s possible hardware subscription service. However, he was correct in noting it would be “Apple’s biggest push yet into automatically recurring sales.” As Oliver Haslam suggested, “using an iPhone as a gateway to Apple’s services is genius and cynical.”

Don’t get me wrong, as a consumer; I love the idea of paying one (small?) fee each month for everything Apple. And yet, I worry such an offering could quickly make the company very lazy on the innovation front, especially if, like auto-leases, these subscriptions were difficult to end. No doubt, we’ll hear more about this in the coming months, so say tuned! Would you rent iPhones?

It’s MacBook, right?

It was just two weeks ago when I suggested Apple should reconsider using the singular MacBook name for a future laptop. Now comes word Apple might reveal its first new 15-inch MacBook since 2019 and call it … MacBook.

I’m not a fortune teller, but it always made sense if Apple has a MacBook lineup; it needed a MacBook in it. Now it looks like that may happen again, and kudos to Apple if true.

The new MacBook could arrive late in 2023 and join the 2021 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro. A refreshed MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro are expected to arrive later this year.

The Mac Studio push

Apple’s best Mac, design-wise, the Mac Studio, began arriving at buyer’s doors this week. Apple has gone all-out in promoting the new device, which starts at $1,999.

Kate Bergeron, Apple’s vice president of hardware engineering, for example, sat with GQ for a rare interview. This followed the recent TechCrunch visit with Apple executives, Tom Boger and Shelly Goldberg.

Mac Studio isn’t for most Mac buyers because of its price point. Nonetheless, it’s great to see people other than Tim Cook pushing a new product. I can’t wait to see who Apple uses to promote the company’s long-rumored AR/VR headset.

Cheers and thanks for reading,


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