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Apple’s best iPhone 13 features are swap deals, not the specs

Apple’s best iPhone 13 features are swap deals, not the specs

Tim Cook unveiled the iPhone 13 at Tuesday’s Apple event.


This story is part of Apple event, our full coverage of the latest Apple news.

Apple’s new iPhone 13 and 13 Pro Phones have lots of new features that are welcome upgrades over previous iPhone models. Battery life is longer, and it’s there cool camera tricks, better displays, a slimmer heel and even some new color options. Although this stealth “S year” upgrade is not as important as last year’s redesign and inclusion of 5G, here’s enough that Apple is still likely to move many, many millions of iPhones.

Especially when you consider carrier prices here in the US.

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All three of major wireless providers have introduced new iPhone deals to get people to upgrade their older devices to these 5G-capable iPhones. As has been the trend in recent years, these offers are available to both new and existing customers, giving significant discounts on all versions of the new iPhone 13 if you are willing to upgrade and commit to staying with an operator In many years.

The deals represent a push from the airlines to not just pick up new customers from each other, but to lock in their current customers with longer deals. The deals extinguishers opened last year as companies were eager to get people on their 5G network and they continue with the launch of the iPhone 13. While this is a good time for those looking for a good deal, consumers should be aware that terms can extend up to three years.

Apple went so far as to recognize shipping discounts during its presentation Tuesday with Kaiann Drance, Apple’s vice president of iPhone product marketing, noting that there are “some great deals from Apple and our partners” when they mention the price of the iPhone 13.

AT&T offers up to $ 1,000 off the iPhone 13 Pro or Pro Max and up to $ 700 off the iPhone 13 and Mini, which essentially makes the iPhone 13 Pro or 13 Mini free. Verizon is offering up to $ 800 off any iPhone 13 that covers the base cost of the 13 and Mini.

Read more: iPhone 13 vs. 13 Mini vs. 13 Pro vs. 13 Pro Max: All the biggest differences

Both carriers need you to trade with a relatively new phone and be on an unlimited level (in Verizon’s case, one of its current unlimited offers is at higher levels such as Do More, Get More and Play More or Older Over Unlimited). and in addition to unlimited plans) to get full credit. AT&T also requires that your device be in good condition, while Verizon takes any phone – even those with broken screens – as long as the battery is undamaged.

T-Mobile’s most aggressive offer comes directly from Apple. If you buy from Apple and shop in an iPhone X or later, the company gives you a credit of at least $ 200 from Apple for the price of the phone and at least $ 200 back from T-Mobile. These numbers can quickly jump if you shop in a new device and have the top level of the carrier, called Magenta Max.

If you have Magenta Max and trade in an iPhone 12 Pro Max, you get $ 790 back from Apple, where T-Mobile kicks in another $ 500 via bill credits for a total saving of $ 1,290.

More directly, T-Mobile is offering up to $ 500 off the price of any iPhone 13 Series phone as long as you are financing on an installment plan and exchanging a qualified device. This offer does not require a Magenta Max plan and works in conjunction with the company’s other offers.


Sarah Tew / CNET

Player for goalkeeper

The catch, in any case, is that you have to be willing to stay with the carrier you choose because the discounts come back to you as monthly bill credits.

AT & T’s agreement requires financing of the phone over 36 months. Verizon requires you to fund within either 24 or 30 months, while T-Mobile’s Apple agreement provides the carrier’s share of advertising through bill credits over 24 months (the phone exchange for Apple can be used as an instant credit). T-Mobile’s direct $ 500 discount campaign requires the purchase of an iPhone 13 on a 30-month installment plan.

In all these cases, you risk losing the remaining bill credits and being charged the remaining balance on the phones if you cancel service or leave early.

“Now that US carriers are seriously rolling out 5G networks, they are trying to increase their subscriber base to keep competition in check,” said Avi Greengart, an industry analyst at Techsponential. “They all ensure that these offers pay off by tying them to their most expensive service plans, demanding swaps and extending grants over two or even three years.”

Read more: iPhone 13 price and pre-order: How and when to buy Apple’s new phones

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In addition to the upgrade offers today, some carriers like T-Mobile have added new incentives to keep people connected to their network for even longer periods, well past the iPhone 12 or 13.

In a policy called “Forever Upgrade”, T-Mobile guarantees from Friday an exchange value of up to $ 800 for those on its network who buy a new iPhone 12 or 13 and have their Magenta Max plan at the highest level (other older, advanced T-Mobile or Sprint plans are also eligible).

As with all the other offers, there is a catch. Beyond the requirements of the plan, this $ 800 replacement value will not become a reality unless you wait two years and keep the unit in good condition. At that point, you can again shop in the iPhone you get now and put that money against a new device so the bike rides.

Carrier offerings like those offered by T-Mobile “are designed to drive more consumer loyalty” and prevent people from leaving, said Anshel Sag, senior analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy. And because so many of these deals require an unlimited plan at a higher level, Sag notes that carriers are “happier to keep these customers rather than letting them go to someone else who has more aggressive iPhone deals.”

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