Apple Drastically Changes How You Buy a New iPhone 6

Apple no longer offers a two-year contract for the iPhone 6 on one of the biggest carriers in the United States.

As part of Apple’s new plan to sell you an iPhone 6, which will likely carry over to the iPhone 6s release this fall, you will not pay anything up front for your iPhone and it is now easier to upgrade to a new iPhone sooner.

Even if you plan to wait for the iPhone 6s release this fall, there is a major change underway. Buyers who plan to go to an Apple Store or order an iPhone 6s from the Apple Store late at night when a new iPhone goes on sale will need to pay for the iPhone on a payment plan or at full price, instead of enjoying a $450 discount.

The new plan options mean that buyers who want an AT&T iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus can no longer buy the new iPhone for $199 or $299 on a two-year contract at the Apple Store online and this change may soon come to physical Apple Stores as well.

Buying the iPhone 6 at the Apple Store Online is vastly different than a week ago.
Buying the iPhone 6 at the Apple Store Online is vastly different than a week ago.

Instead of paying $199 for a 16GB iPhone 6 on AT&T, shoppers who choose to buy a new iPhone 6 from Apple must instead make a monthly payment for the iPhone of around $21.64 a month. The amount goes up slightly for the iPhone 6 Plus to $24.97 a month and extra storage is also more expensive.

With this new way to buy the iPhone 6 at an Apple Store buyers no longer enjoy a subsidized iPhone 6 that is just $199 on a contract, but there is no cellular contract to deal with anymore. This means users can upgrade faster and it also includes a discount on the data plan of $15 to $25 a month. This discount makes up for the lack of a subsidy in most cases.

Currently Apple still offers the two-year contract option for Verizon and Sprint, with new iPhone 6 units starting at $199 on contract. Verizon and Sprint both offer payment plan options similar to the AT&T Next service, so it is possible that Apple will soon make this change for those carriers as well. T-Mobile offers carrier financing for the iPhone 6, but Apple only sells the T-Mobile iPhone 6 in the Apple Store at full price.

Here's what you need to know about buying an iPhone 6 from the online Apple Store on AT&T.
Here’s what you need to know about buying an iPhone 6 from the online Apple Store on AT&T.

Best Buy also changed offerings, pushing the AT&T iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to the bottom of listings and switching from a two-year contract model to a monthly payment model as well. Best Buy still sells the iPhone 6 on Sprint and Verizon on contract.

AT&T Next isn’t a new plan, but it may be new to many users looking to buy their first iPhone in two years. Instead of signing a contract for service, shoppers agree to pay for the full price of the phone split out over 20 to 30 monthly payments. For a 16 GB iPhone 6, the payments are broken out in the list below.

  • AT&T Next 12 – $21.64 a month for 30 months – early upgrade in 24 months
  • AT&T Next 18 – $27.05 a month for 24 months – early upgrade in 18 months
  • AT&T Next 24 – $32.45 a month for 20 months – early upgrade in 12 months

With some of these plans you can upgrade earlier than on a typical plan. Although AT&T often advertises this as a $0 down plan, when you purchase from Apple the full tax on a $649 or higher iPhone 6 purchase is due, so you cannot get out of the store without making any payment.

You still get a benefit with this payment plan. If you use less than 10GB data month you save $15 on your data plan portion for each line on AT&T Next. If you pay for a plan with more than 10GB of data you get a $25 discount on that line. In some cases this almost equals out to a free iPhone after you factor in the $21.64 monthly payment and the $25 discount. Granted, you are still paying for the phone, but the discount sweetens the deal for some users.

AT&T still sells the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus on a two-year contract through AT&T and AT&T Stores. The table below outlines the difference between AT&T Next vs AT&T two-year contracts at various plan prices.

AT&T PlanDue at PurchaseActivation FeeNext 24 PaymentsMonthly ServiceTotal Cost 1st YearTotal Cost Two Years/ End of Payments
AT&T Contract, 2GB Mobile Share Value$199.99$40$0$65$1,020$1,800
AT&T Next 24, 3GB Mobile Share Value$0$0$21.64$50$860$1,849
AT&T Contract, 3GB Mobile Share Value$199.99$40$0.00$80$1,200$2,160
AT&T Next 24, 3GB Mobile Share Value$0$0$21.64$65$1,040$2,209
AT&T Contract, 6GB Mobile Share Value$199.99$40$0$110$1,560$2,880
AT&T Next 24, 6GB Mobile Share Value$0$0$21.64$95$1,400$2,929
AT&T Contract, 10GB Mobile Share Value$199.99$40$0.00$140$1,920$3,600
AT&T Next 24, 10GB Mobile Share Value$0$0$21.64$115$1,640$3,409

In many cases users come out ahead with the new AT&T Next plans, paying less overall after two years, and even after 30 months with the Next 24 plans that require 30 payments and an option to upgrade after 24 months.

If you plan to wait for the iPhone 6s release, you can count on similar pricing from AT&T at the Apple Store and possibly also on Verizon models. Check out the most important iPhone 6s rumors in the slideshow below.

15 Important iPhone 6s Rumors

iPhone 6s Release Date

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iPhone 6s Release Date

We know Apple plans an event for June 2015, but this is not where you should expect to hear about the iPhone 6s at this event. WWDC 2015 will more than likely focus on iOS 9 and a new version of OS X for Mac.

Expect an iPhone 6s announcement in fall 2015 at a special event dedicated to the iPhone, and possibly the iPod touch.

The last four iPhone release dates took place in a span of 30 days from late September to mid-October and we expect the iPhone 6s release date will arrive in a similar time. A best guess would be that the iPhone 6s release date will come on September 18th or September 25th, based on historical data only.

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10 Comments

  1. David Jackson

    06/07/2015 at 5:14 pm

    It’s not Apple that’s enforcing these changes . It’s AT&T who made these changes overnight.

    Reply

    • Ryan Parker

      06/08/2015 at 6:10 pm

      David. Thank you for saying this. It’s been widely reported ATT made these abrupt changes. Apple is only following the sales channel set forth by ATT.

      Reply

  2. Mark

    06/07/2015 at 6:17 pm

    Thank you David. It was bothering me that josh kept stating it was apple who did this when in fact it was att.

    Reply

  3. richimages

    06/07/2015 at 7:26 pm

    I’ll be staying with my iPhone 6 Plus unlocked ATT for a while … Hate these changes.

    Reply

  4. Tom

    06/08/2015 at 8:31 am

    I too hate these changes, and the numbers above show that over 2yrs you are paying more for the new plans. I’m still on unlimited data. I can’t do a hotspot, but at only $39.95 a month for 450 min and unlimited data. Way cheaper than the new rates. People are paying way more than Land Line costs just to have a mobile phone, what a rip off. AT&T doesn’t care about it customers, just the money it can make. They raised the internet fees by $1.00, think of the millions that made them, but did they improve one thing for the customer, NO. This is what happens when a business gets to big and have no real reason to worry about losing customers.

    Reply

  5. Reagan

    06/08/2015 at 11:20 am

    I hate these changes too. The comparison chart above is short-sighted. The “contract” pricing includes AT&T’s additional $15 or $25 monthly premium for having a contract. They didn’t use to have that and forced it on the new plans.

    What really irks me is that AT&T’s next plan is set up to get people to “upgrade” their phones after 12 or 18 months, but it requires you to trade in your phone. A typical 12 month old iPhone is worth far more than the payments you have remaining on it that they waive.

    You’d think this would hurt Apple iPhone sales… Apple can’t say the phone costs $199 any more. I’d think folks wouldn’t be so excited if the price is listed as $650.

    Reply

  6. Sheila

    06/12/2015 at 11:44 am

    I currently have unlimited data too. I have an iPhone 6 now so I’m good for awhile. Gives me plenty of time to find another carrier.

    AT&T has also been messing with due dates. Pretty crappy way to make their Balance Sheet look better.

    Reply

  7. John R Bezjian Jr.

    08/24/2015 at 11:42 pm

    Glad I found this thread and article. My iPhone 5 died this week, and I am seriously considering going without a phone for a month to wait for the iPhone 6s Plus.
    I’ve been with AT&T since the iPhone 3 because they were the ONLY option if I wanted an iPhone. Now I’ve been waiting to use my “contract upgrade” and find out that I basically can’t if I want to use my Best Buy credit card and get the phone for $199 or $299. I now have to buy the phone from AT&T it looks like to get the existing contract deal, which I’m not even sure still will be honored.
    I too was surprised that my due date changed on my grandfathered in unlimited data plan which is the only reason I keep this carrier and plan. Of course like others have said here, I still can’t activate a “hot spot” to use my wifi iPad with my phone tethered because they are trying everything to get us to give these plans up and change to current plans in order to get tethering etc. I’ve had every other carrier and really don’t want to change again even though I’m really hating AT&T right now. As others have posted above, they don’t care about customers, just their bottom line and how much money they can make.

    Reply

  8. bronzi

    09/04/2015 at 3:53 pm

    Yeah, the date thing was dodgy to say the least. Thinking of T-Mobile. Verizon I hear is pretty good, but T-Mobile is killing it. Didn’t want to lose my unlimited data, BUT starting to think since I don’t use that much not a great reason to stay with AT&T.

    Reply

  9. Brooke

    09/12/2015 at 2:29 am

    Okay, but then there are the people like myself that don’t have to have the newest phone every single year. My monthly bill is $60 for unlimited talk, text, 3gb. Started at $55 about 5 years ago and gradually went up, but fine. I keep my iPhones for 3-4 years, saving the $199-$299 every year and also saving the ridiculous upgrade fee that ATT always charges, too. I only need one line, not some insane family multiple 4 lines for 4 phones shared craziness. Now that I am really in need of a new phone, and Att only offers the Next program, I am pissed off. They say they can’t honor my previous plan price anymore, that my monthly payments have to increase to about $104 to accommodate the current rates, and so forth. WTH? I have been a loyal customer of theirs for 8 years!! Every time I needed a new phone, I bought the phone, renewed my contract for the 2 years, and done. On with life until the phone battery goes to hell and I need to charge it 6 times a day. Makes no sense to change all plans to Next plans. I can understand it as a way to lure the new customers in, but why not make it an option? ATT website offers the lower pricing, but it explains that all discounts and plans will be discontinued and that a new contract with new plans offered will have to be signed up for. I am so annoyed right now. I almost want to switch carriers and phones altogether at this point. Take a break and get a prepaid phone. lol

    Reply

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