Visit Apple’s online store in the U.S. and you’ll see an iPhone carrier financing option through AT&T Next. The new purchasing choice was spotted by 9to5 Mac on Wednesday and follows reports earlier this month that Apple would be adding new carrier purchase plans around August 20.
When I checked Apple’s site, I saw the option, along with a link to explain how the AT&T Next program works: For $0 down, you can pay a set amount each month for your iPhone and be eligible to trade it in for an upgrade in either 12 or 18 months, depending on your monthly payment amount. The strange thing is that Verizon and T-Mobile offer similar plans — T-Mobile was actually the first to do so — but neither is shown on Apple’s store site. Both were tipped earlier this month to be coming to Apple Stores, however.
It’s possible this is just a case of updating the website one carrier option at a time, since all of the plans are slightly different. If not, it could be a coup for AT&T as both it and Apple could make it easier to tout the early upgrade opportunities. Think of the marketing advantage alone for all that Apple Store foot and website traffic.
When we first heard about Apple’s potential plans to support carrier financing in the U.S., I figured it would execute the changes in advance of its next iPhone, widely expected to debut on September 9. There’s still time for Apple to fully support the Verizon Edge and T-Mobile Jump plans, then. If that doesn’t happen though, AT&T could get a nice sales boost from the iPhone 6, just as it quickly grew its subscriber based when it was the only U.S. carrier to offer the iPhone for years.