AT&T Offering "Loans" not "Subsidies"?

Interesting take from the Macalope this week with regards to the ongoing confusion and resentment surrounding current iPhone 3G owners and the price they'll likely have to pay when upgrading to the iPhone 3G S on AT&T. See, the Macalope believes both sides of the debate have it wrong:

[AT&T fronting part of the hardware costs to Apple] isn’t a “subsidy” by the traditional definition. It’s a loan. AT&T is loaning you the money to buy an iPhone and you’re signing a contract to pay it off over the next 18 months. If you decide you want out of your loan, you have to pay a buyout. [...] See, AT&T gets its money one way or the other. Nobody’s “subsidizing” anything.

Even if it is more of a "loan" than a "subsidy", though, does that make understanding the pricing model easier?

Also worth reading, In typical fashion, the Macalope thoroughly gores PCMag over their WWDC take-away -- using ponies, and their reaction to today's Safari 4 download numbers.

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.