by Bill Snyder

Sprint sells Apple Watch, but beware fine print in ‘iPhone Forever’ deal

Sep 23, 2015
CarriersConsumer ElectronicsiPhone

Sprint announced it will sell the Apple Watch starting Friday, and it also has a good deal on the new iPhone 6s. However, consumers should be aware of a huge loophole in the offer before signing new contracts.

Apple recently muscled into carriers’ territory by selling iPhones directly to consumers through its new upgrade program, so it’s only fair that carriers start offering the Apple Watch. On Monday, Sprint announced that it will sell the pricey bauble starting Friday, and T-Mobile won’t be far behind.

Friday, Sept. 25, is probably not a randomly chosen day; it happens to be Apple’s new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus launch day. Sprint announced its Watch news on a product page consumers can use to order the new iPhones. However, the page does not list price or preorder information for the Apple Watch [ Find it on Amazon *What’s this?* ].

[Related: T-Mobile will sell you an iPhone 6s for $124 less than Apple]

T-Mobile CEO John Legere announced his company’s intention to sell the Apple Watch via Twitter earlier this month, but did not specify a date. When I reached out for additional information on Monday, a T-Mobile spokesman referred me to Legere’s tweet but wouldn’t say just when the watch will be available. 

Of course, you can always buy the watch directly from Apple, or via Best Buy. You probably won’t be able to buy the most expensive versions of the Watch anywhere but via Apple and, perhaps, a few high-end jewelers. I also expect the carriers to match Apple’s price — but not to discount it, unless you buy the Watch as some sort of package deal with another device or service.

Sprint ‘iPhone Forever’ plan comes with a catch

Sprint, meanwhile, is selling the new iPhones at a substantially lower price than Apple. Its “iPhone Forever” plan is designed to give customers more frequent (annual) upgrades. If you trade in your old phone, you pay $15 a month for the iPhone 6s, or $19 a month for the larger 6s Plus. If you don’t do the trade-in, you add $7 a month to those plans.

It sounds like a good deal, but if you read the fine print there’s a gotcha. From Sprint’s website:

iPhone Forever: Applies to upgrade on lease. Upgrade does not include same generation model iPhone. Does not guarantee monthly payment amount, phone selection, or service plan rates. Contingent upon product availability. Not transferable. $15 Promo Requires trade in of smartphone in good, working condition that is not on current lease or Sprint Easy Pay.

There’s no way to know if Sprint will bump up that $15-a-month charge, and the company set itself up to do just that. What bugs me is the label “forever.” To me, forever means just that. To Sprint it apparently means until the company changes its mind. (Kudos to Mouse Print for noticing this loophole.)

As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, T-Mobile also offers a good deal on the new iPhones. It may not be quite as good as Sprint’s, but T-Mobile generally has a stronger network so it’s worth a look.