"That's a very powerful lock-in. People who want an iPhone may never go into, for example, an AT&T store, and many customers would rather deal with Apple than with their carrier."
Because the program is available only in Apple's own U.S. stores, it removes the influence of the carriers, who in their stores pitch alternatives, primarily those running Google's Android. Getting a customer onto the upgrade deal locks them even more effectively into Apple's universe.
Preorders kick off Saturday, Sept. 12, with sales starting Friday, Sept. 25. iOS 9, which will be pre-installed on the new models but available for download on older iPhones, will release a week from today, Sept. 16.
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