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Apple rumoured to be working on a hardware subscription service

Tech giant to offer pay-monthly option, akin to a cloud subscription, for its iconic handsets

Apple is said to be working on a way to offer iPhones and iPads as part of an ongoing subscription.

This has been in the works for "several years", according to Bloomberg sources, and could be announced by the end of the year, if it's not shelved completely.

Subscription models are already a key part of Apple's business, but these have so far only been offered as part of its various software services, such as music, TV, fitness, and gaming. Much of this has also been bundled together into the firm's Apple One platform. 

The new project would represent Apple's first push into automatically recurring sales for hardware.

From an iPhone perspective, the company does have an upgrade programme, which lets customers pay for the combined cost of AppleCare and an iPhone over 24 months, with an extra option to trade in their device after a certain amount of payments over the course of a year.

This resembles a hardware subscription of sorts, but this is really more about spreading out the cost of a new iPhone. The new subscription model, if it ever emerges, will instead be an ongoing monthly fee, akin to a cloud subscription.

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A new revenue stream is clearly the name of the game here, with the company seeking to offer more palatable methods for iPhone fans to get their hands on the latest models. At the time of writing, the standard model of iPhone 13 costs £779 or £32.45 per month.

This does make sense from a business perspective, with the iPhone generating more than 50% of the company's revenues – the next highest segment is Apple services, which only accounts for 18.7%.

Last year's sales of the iPhone accounted for almost $192 billion of the company's overall revenue.

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