The move doesn't come from out of the blue, as Apple has already been offering one year AppleCare+ subscriptions directly from a newly purchased Mac for the past month or so, but now the option has expanded to be able to be purchased at Apple's retail and online store, mobile app and phone support hotline.
Two years ago, Apple introduced the option to sign-up for AppleCare+ on a month-to-month basis, but now we're seeing an option that lands somewhere inbetween a 30-day renewal period and a three-year fixed plan.
Of course, in typical Apple fashion, the pricing doesn't come at a one-to-one rate with the traditional three-year plan. Oh no - this new annual option comes at a slight premium depending on which make and model you plan on covering.
As an example, we'll take the most luxurious laptop in Apple's lineup, the 16" MacBook Pro. A standard three-year AppleCare+ plan would cost £399 / $379 a year, but under the new annual plan, three years in a row at $139 would come out to over $40 more than just buying the complete three-year package upfront.
Of course, there are two obvious benefits to this new annual option - one is that it allows you to give your Mac some extra protection despite not being able to afford the complete price of AppleCare+ at purchase, and secondly it offers you the opportunity to skip renewal for a second or third year should you decide you no longer need the extra coverage or choose to give up your machine for a newer or entirely different model altogether.
At the moment, it doesn't look as if annual AppleCare+ subscriptions for Mac are available yet in the UK, but since Apple is giving this a wide release in the US, expect to see a global rollout follow shortly.