In order to boost sales, Apple will start selling pre-paid and month-to-month iPhone plans, according to reports.
For the first time in U.S. Apple stores, consumers will be able to to buy an iPhone at full price and then buy a pre-paid or month-to-month plan, 9to5Mac reported, saying the news came from an unnamed source. Before, iPhone buyers would have to buy unlocked phones and then buy plans via carrier. This may lead users to rely more on Apple stores in general, something that could benefit Apple's retail arm.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook told Apple store managers last year that boosting iPhone sales was paramount because the iPhone is considered its "gateway" product to its other offerings and that only 20 percent of iPhones sold in its retail stores. From the article:
Apple Stores will soon stock up on AT&T GoPhone pre-paid activation kits and SIM cards, and stores will use the existing T-Mobile SIM cards for customers that will choose T-Mobile pre-paid plans. Apple will begin training its store employees on the new pre-paid and month-to-month iPhone sales practices in the coming weeks. Sales staff will promote AT&T’s $60 per month pre-paid plan (with 2.5GB of internet data and unlimited talk and text) to those seeking AT&T plans, while the stores will offer $50/month (1GB LTE data) and $70/month (5GB LTE data) unlimited data plans to customers seeking T-Mobile devices. The activations must be done at the time of purchase in Apple Stores and those devices will be unable to be returned to Apple for a refund.
Apple is rumored to start the plans at the end of the month.
The new plans will help sell iPhones and plans, and some say the move is part of Apple's plan to clean out iPhone inventory for the next incarnation coming later this year. If nothing else, the new plans make Apple's iPhones a more affordable option.