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(Pocket-lint) - Recent rumours claimed that an Apple hardware subscription service is coming for customers to get iPhones and other devices for a monthly fee. Now a renowned industry tipster has suggested how much that might cost.

The scheme, it is said, will enable people to split the cost of the latest hardware over 12, 24 and even 36 months and, once the contract term is up, you swap it in for the latest model.

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While UK mobile providers, for example, already offer similar price plans for devices, these are often dependent on taking out a network tariff at the same time. And, the Apple initiative would be coming from source.

That's not to say it will turn out cheaper though. Bloomberg journalist and Apple expert Mark Gurman wrote in his latest Power On newsletter that you could end up paying several hundred dollars for an iPhone than if buying it outright.

Plus, Apple gets the device back to resell. It's a win-win for the company, certainly.

"Let's break it down," he states. "I’ll use the starting prices for the iPhone 13, Pro and Pro Max - $799, $999 and $1,099 - and pick monthly price points of $35, $45 and $50 as examples (I chose these levels because they undercut the pricing of the old iPhone Upgrade Program by a few dollars).

"Here’s how much Apple would generate over three years from the monthly subscription compared with the upfront price: iPhone 13 ($35/month) - $1,260 over three years instead of $799; iPhone 13 Pro  ($45/month) - $1,620 instead of $999; iPhone 13 Pro Max ($50/month)- $1,800 instead of $1,099."

The figures are only speculation on Gurman's part for now - "This is obviously just back-of-the-envelope math," he says. However, they aren't beyond the realms of possibility. And, it's worth noting that the monthly cost will work out better for the consumer if a shorter term contract is taken out.

We'll just have to see exactly how much that might be when and if Apple announces its plans.

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Writing by Rik Henderson.