Apple teams up with Alipay to boost iPhone sales in China

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iPhone XS box gold
Van-Seyla Mork claimed Apple sent out empty boxes instead of products.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple has joined forces with Alipay in an effort to boost iPhone sales in China.

iPhone fans can now bag one of the company’s latest handsets with up to two years of interest-free finance. The loan allows customers to swap the costly upfront fee for much more affordable monthly payments. It’s available on purchases of 4,000 yuan (approx. $595) or more.

How to buy iPhone XR on iPhone Upgrade Program if you own iPhone X

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iphone xs upgrade
The iPhone Upgrade Program lets you pay off your balance for an early upgrade.
Photo: Apple

The iPhone Upgrade Program is Apple’s equivalent of a carrier’s monthly contract. You can upgrade your iPhone every year, and pay a monthly fee instead of buying the handset outright. Usually, the upgrade path is simple — there’s a new iPhone every year, and you can upgrade every year. But the iPhone X came out on November 3, 2017, so iPhone Upgrade Program participants still have at least a couple of weeks left to run on their contracts.

So how do you get the colorful iPhone XR you’re craving on launch day?

iPhone Upgrade Program users can start process of getting iPhone XR today

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iPhone Upgrade Program 2
It's like being a celebrity whisked through the pre-order process.
Photo: Apple

The iPhone XR, the handset which scored the main event spot in Apple’s most recent media event, opens up for pre-orders this Friday. However, if you’re a loyal enough Apple fan to be a member of its iPhone Upgrade Program, you can begin the process of getting your hands on an iPhone XR today.

That’s due to a pre-approval feature, which will speed you through Friday’s checkout process like a celebrity being ushered through airport security.

iPhone Upgrade Program welcomes T-Mobile customers online

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iPhone X on its box
iPhone X finally hits Apple's refurbished section.
Photo: Apple

T-Mobile customers can now sign up to the iPhone Upgrade Program online — just in time for Apple’s big 2018 upgrades.

Online enrollment was previously available to those on AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon, while T-Mobile subscribers were forced to visit their local Apple Store. The process will be a little easier for those looking to buy a new iPhone this fall.

The best ways to buy an unlocked iPhone X

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iPhone X
Don't lock yourself to a carrier -- buy your iPhone X from Apple instead.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

It might not seem like it at the time, but buying an iPhone for full price upfront is probably the cheapest option. Swallowing the $1,000 purchase price of an unlocked iPhone X isn’t easy. However, you won’t wind up tied to carrier contracts that trap you for a year or two. Plus, you can pick a cheap, $10-per-month prepaid data plan instead.

In the European Union, Apple sells unlocked phones from the get-go. If you buy a new iPhone from Apple on launch day, it will not come tied to a carrier. In the United States, SIM-free iPhones usually go on sale a few weeks after launch.

Today we’ll look at how and where you can buy a SIM-free, unlocked iPhone.

How to buy iPhone X without breaking the bank

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iPhone X on its box
iPhone X finally hits Apple's refurbished section.
Photo: Apple

iPhone X is Apple’s most expensive smartphone to date, with the cheapest 64GB model priced at $999, and the 256GB model priced at $1,149.

That’s $50 more than a 21-inch iMac. However, you don’t have to go hungry for the next few months to afford one. Here’s how to save money and get your hands on iPhone X without breaking the bank.

Apple Prime? Here’s why it might be a great idea

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money
Would an Amazon Prime-style service work for Apple?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple should take a note out of Jeff Bezos’ playbook and launch an Amazon Prime-style subscription service, claims an analyst for Goldman Sachs.

“We think Apple should launch a subscription bundle as a way to reinforce iPhone loyalty and leverage it into content,” Simona Jankowski writes in a new note to clients. In the brief, Jankowski and colleagues ponder the potential of a $50 monthly subscription that would get customers the latest iPhone plus other services like Apple TV, Apple Music and freemium access to the iTunes library.

Samsung steals iPhone’s Upgrade Program for Galaxy S7

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Apple doesn’t charge you interest, but Samsung does.
Photo: Samsung
Apple doesn't charge you interest, but Samsung does. Photo: Samsung
Apple doesn’t charge you interest, but Samsung does. Photo: Samsung

Samsung has launched its own Upgrade Program alongside the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge to make it easier for fans to get their hands on its latest devices.

It comes in response to Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program, but it’s nowhere near as good.

Apple lets you trade in broken iPhones

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apple-iphone-cracked-security-mac-ios-malware-flaw
Apple's new trade-in program won't discriminate against cracked iPhones.
Photo: Faris Algosaibi/Flickr CC

Apple is rolling out several new programs in its retail store locations that will give credit for iPhones with pretty severe damage, according to a report. The program will allow customers with a cracked screen, damaged buttons or damaged cameras to trade in their faulty device without issue. Apple previously wouldn’t accept this kind of damage in its Reuse and Recycle trade-in program.