Upgrading iPhone, plus AppleCare+ vs. SquareTrade

Last year, T-Mobile ran a Jump On Demand promotion for iPhone 6S that included a bill credit so that the phone effectively costs $5/month to lease. As the 7 is preparing to go on pre-order, I’m considering my options:

  1. End the lease and buy in installments (EIP)
  2. End the lease and lease from Apple
  3. Upgrade through Jump on Demand
  4. Wait and buy the 7S Plus outright

Options

1: End the Lease and Buy in Installments

Ending the lease at this point in time would cost me about $400. T-Mobile’s EIP would likely be $200 down for the 7 Plus 128GB, then about $30/month until it’s paid off. On top of that, I’d need coverage like AppleCare+ which is initially $130.

2: End the Lease and Lease from Apple

So again, I’d still have to pay T-Mobile to get out of the lease. The 7 Plus is about $42 to $46/month (no down payment) on iPhone Upgrade Program, and includes AppleCare+. Unfortunately, you have to sign up at an Apple Store if you’re a T-Mobile customer.

3: Upgrade through Jump on Demand

T-Mobile’s pricing isn’t out yet, even though pre-orders start tomorrow. Jump on Demand upgrades can’t be done through the website because the phone has to be inspected first.

4: Wait and Buy the 7S Plus Outright

Cheapest option, for sure. The 6S works fine and is compatible with AirPods. This would give me time to save toward a newer phone.

Note on AppleCare+ vs. SquareTrade

In the past, I recommended SquareTrade over AppleCare+ due to the high number of covered incidents, matching pricing, and refund. While the refund option still exists, the pricing has become much less appealing: $90 for one year or $150 for two, along with $100 deductibles across the board. Meanwhile, AppleCare+ remains $100 for 2 years and only 2 covered incidents; deductibles are a low $30 for screens, then $100 for anything else. At this time, I would probably recommend AppleCare+ over SquareTrade for your iPhone.

Conclusion

Some on Reddit have said that T-Mobile is discouraging use of the Jump on Demand program. That plus the lack of pricing on their website encourages me to avoid any option that involves them. So I’ll probably move to the iPhone Upgrade Program or wait another year.

UPDATE: Availability quickly diminished, and ship dates from both T-Mobile and Apple are in November for the Jet Black 7 Plus. In-store reservations (at Apple) are currently unavailable for T-Mobile customers, so I’ll check again on 9/17.