The change was first spotted in a new AppleCare+ legal document and reported by 9to5Mac. It could benefit customers who plan to keep their phones, iPads or watches for more than two years. They'll be covered for longer, and Apple will get a continuous stream of subscription revenue. But they could end up paying more. For AppleCare+ packages that cost $149 upfront, the monthly fee will be $7.99 per month, or $191 over the course of two years.
According to The Verge, if you already have AppleCare+ you won't be able to opt in. This only applies to recent purchases, and you'll have 60 days from the time of purchase to add the coverage. Like the two-year subscription, the monthly model will cover two incidents every 24 months.
Most of Apple's other products will still require the upfront, two-year AppleCare+ commitment. But the company did just add an AppleCare+ option for AirPods and Beats earphones and headphones. That add-on costs $29 and gets you an additional year of hardware repair coverage. We'll see if Apple changes the AppleCare+ model for its Macs, TVs and other products next.