It sounds like Apple could soon offer its own subscription service for the iPhone. You'd get a new iPhone each year and an easy upgrade.
Apple's investors are keen on the idea because of the shift to recurring revenue and the fact it would further lock people into Apple's ecosystem. Recurring revenue has a level of predictability about it, which investors in any business tend to like.
Apple itself already offers the iPhone Upgrade Program, which means you can upgrade to the latest iPhone when it is announced. Apple has also actively encouraged trade-ins when customers are buying iPhones on Apple.com. On a recent conference call, Apple's chief financial officer Luca Maestri suggested that the trade-in volume was five times more than a year ago.
An iPhone subscription would mirror Apple's subscription model in other areas, such as for iCloud, Apple Music, Apple Arcade, Apple News+ and Apple TV+. What will be interesting is if Apple introduces an equivalent of Amazon Prime, where you could subscribe to all of Apple's services for a set fee, or get an iPhone with a bundle of these services.
Tim Cook suggested that Apple was already seeing a subscription-style attitude from customers. ″In terms of hardware as a service or as a bundle, if you will, there are customers today that essentially view the hardware like that because they’re on upgrade plans and so forth. To some degree that exists today.”
However, this wouldn't be the first iPhone subscription service. Raylo already offers customers a new iPhone every 24 months and, of course, a subscription service isn't a million miles away from a service like O2 Refresh or EE's Upgrade Anytime.