iPhone 6s and 6s Plus: Where to Buy It, Pricing, and More
At its September 9 media event, Apple finally unveiled the much-anticipated new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. They’re packed with exciting new features, enabled by both hardware and software upgrades, and will be available to preorder and to purchase before you’ve had the time to talk yourself out of buying a new iPhone. Apple revealed onstage in San Francisco that the new iPhones will be available to pre-order beginning on Saturday, September 12, and they’ll be available in retail stores on September 25.
That means that if you want to preorder one of Cupertino’s latest iPhones, you don’t have a lot of time to research your options. And there are a lot of options. Apple revealed both on-contract pricing and a guide to what the new iPhones will cost on the kind of installment plans that are increasingly popular among U.S. wireless carriers. On-contract prices for Apple’s new phones begin at $199 for the iPhone 6s and $299 for the iPhone 6s Plus.
On installment plans — which senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller commented make “any iPhone you want… pretty affordable” — the iPhone 6s will start at $27 per month, and the iPhone 6s Plus will start at $31 per month. A third option is the newly-announced iPhone Upgrade Program, which enables you to get a new, unlocked iPhone each year, choose your carrier, and take advantage of the AppleCare+ plan, starting at $32 per month.
So what’s the best way for you to buy a new iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus? Read on to get the lowdown on all of your options and to figure out which purchasing method is best for you.
What the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will cost
The most helpful starting point when you sit down to figure out the best option for purchasing or leasing a new iPhone is the pricing structure that Apple has laid out for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. These are the prices at which Apple will sell the new iPhones to customers who preorder from its website or purchase at one of its retail stores, and they’ll also inform how much your carrier will charge you if you purchase your new iPhone outright, or opt for a monthly installment or leasing plan.
If you buy the new iPhone outright, the iPhone 6s starts at $649 for 16GB of storage, costs $749 for a model with 64GB, and tops out at $849 for a model with 128GB. On an installment plan or a two-year contract with your carrier of choice, the iPhone 6s will cost $32.45 per month for the 16GB model, $37.45 per month for the 64GB model, and $42.45 for the 128GB model.
The iPhone 6s Plus, not surprisingly, is a more expensive purchase. Bought outright, the iPhone 6s Plus starts at $749 for the 16GB model, $849 for the 64GB model, and $949 for the 128GB model. On an installment plan or with a two-year contract with your carrier, the iPhone 6s Plus will cost $37.45 per month for a model with 16GB of storage, $42.45 for a model with 64GB of storage, and $47.45 for a model with 128GB of storage.
How Apple’s new iPhone Upgrade Program works
Apple’s new iPhone Upgrade Program gives you the option of leasing a new iPhone directly from Apple. It’s one way to get a new iPhone every year, while getting the protection of the AppleCare+ program. You can choose the carrier and rate plan that work for you, and pay for your new iPhone in monthly installments that start at $32.41. After paying 12 installments, you can get a new iPhone, without waiting for a contract with your carrier to end. You can choose your carrier, and AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon are all participating.
The 16GB iPhone 6s will cost $32.41 per month, the 64GB will cost $36.58 per month, and the 128GB will cost $40.75 per month. The 16GB iPhone 6s Plus will cost $36.58 per month, the 64GB will cost $40.75 per month, and the 128GB will cost $44.91 per month. Starting on Saturday, September 12, you can make a reservation online to enroll in the program at your local Apple Store.
What each of the major U.S. carriers is offering
Where things get sticky are if you’re open to switching carriers. As Kyle Wiggers reports for Digital Trends, not all carriers will subsidize the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. But the simple fact that the traditional subsidies are gone at some carriers doesn’t mean that your only option is to pay the full retail price all at once. Many carriers now offer leasing options and monthly installment plans. Here’s a quick guide to the options offered by the four major U.S. carriers.
AT&T still offers subsidized pricing for new subscribers, so anyone who wants to get the new iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus from the carrier should be able to get one at Apple’s recommended prices. Existing subscribers can choose to pay full price for a new iPhone, or to sign up for the Next plan, which enables customers to get a new smartphone each year and ranges between $27.54 per month and $41.30 per month.
T-Mobile completely did away with subsidized pricing in 2013, so the carrier offers a range of other options for users looking to upgrade to the latest iPhones. New or existing subscribers can choose to purchase the iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus outright, or can choose to lease or buy it with payments spread out over a number of months. The Jump! payment plan costs between $27 and $32 monthly for other high-end phones currently offered. Or, if you want to lease instead of own the new iPhone, you can opt for a plan that costs only $27 per month.
Sprint offers subsidized pricing for new and current customers, like AT&T. However, the carrier also has what Wiggers characterizes as the cheapest leasing plan for the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. It also offers the iPhone Forever program, which should enable you to lease the iPhone 6s for just $22 per month.
Verizon has eliminated subsidized upgrades for new customers, but still offers discounted smartphones to existing subscribers. Verizon is likely to follow Apple’s recommended on-contract pricing. The carrier is also expected to make the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus available via its Edge installment plan, and prices for that option are also likely to closely follow the structure that Apple has laid out.
Once you’ve decided how you want to purchase your new iPhone, you just need to know when and where to do it. You can order preorder through your carrier or on Apple’s website, where you can explore the options and what they’ll cost you. Apple explains that if you’re sticking with your current carrier and plan, you can get ready to preorder a new iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus by entering some details about your wireless account and checking your upgrade eligibility ahead of time.
You can also download the Apple Store app on your iPhone and tap “Get ready to pre-order iPhone 6s,” which will save you some time when pre-orders open. If you’d prefer not to deal with preorders or ordering online, you can always opt to visit the Apple Store or your carrier’s store on or after September 25 to get your upgrade sorted out.