The 2021 partnership that let businesses lease new M1 Macs for as low as $30 per month and upgrade to newer hardware on demand has been canceled.
Apple partnered with a bank in 2021 to let small businesses lease new M1 Macs for as low as $30 per month, with easy options to upgrade if and when more powerful devices are released. Now that’s no longer being offered, and businesses that had signed up will now have to sign up for a different program from CIT Group, the bank Apple partnered with, or go another route to get their computers.
A business that reached out to The Verge shared an email from CIT Group (aka First Citizens Bank) confirming the Mac Upgrade Program has ended. Now the bank is requesting the business to switch to its FMV lease or continue to lease the equipment at the same monthly rate — though it would run indefinitely with no buyout option. The Verge contacted both CIT and Apple to confirm the program’s status, but neither has responded at time of publication.
While the Mac Notebook Upgrade Program is no more, CIT Group still has Apple hardware leasing options that include a “$1 buyout lease.” Although the terms are not fully disclosed on the page, Apple has an active business financing page that seems to describe CIT’s offering.
The current offering includes “flexible” leasing options, 12 / 24 / 36-month terms, a $4,000 order minimum, financing for up to 25 percent of the value on accessories, and buyout options. The now-defunct program offered low monthly payments starting with the 13-inch MacBook Air for $30, 13-inch MacBook Pro for $39, 14-inch MacBook Pro for $60, and 16-inch MacBook Pro for $75. Immediate upgrades were available if a new MacBook Air or Pro with newer chips were released at any time after the first 90 days of the lease.
It also seemed like a part of Apple’s overall service-oriented shift, following the iPhone Upgrade program that has existed for consumers for several years, bundling AppleCare Plus and the ability to swap your phone annually, or the also consumer-aimed Upgrade Plus financing setup Apple offers for laptops purchased from Best Buy. It’s unclear if this program has shut down due to a lack of interest or a change in strategy, but there was a rumor that Apple might launch a full subscription program for the iPhone, perhaps by the end of this year.
Although Apple and CIT Group aren’t offering the Mac Upgrade Program anymore, Apple is still supporting small businesses on the services side with its Business Essentials IT management package. Businesses (and K-12 / High Ed) can also still order hardware directly from Apple’s special Business or Education store site and build POs — but normally for the full price.
Apple is also expected to launch its buy now, pay later service this year. Whether it launches or not, individuals — and perhaps individuals that own a small business — could always use an Apple Card and pay 0 percent financing on new Apple computers.