I've already found a few drawbacks about this savings account. First, according to this account's terms and conditions, there's a fee for outgoing ACH transfers of $3. Sometimes fees listed in a generic disclosure don't apply to a new account, so I sent Apple Bank this question along with others through their Contact-Us page. I sent it on mid-day Friday and haven't received a response yet. Another negative is that the bank's customer service number doesn't seem to be toll-free.
Apple Bank is based in Manhasset, New York with dozens of branches. It seems Apple Bank is trying to copy its New York competitor, Emigrant Savings. With so much competition now, Apple Bank is going to have to do what EmigrantDirect did when it started and that was to offer a very high rate that was around 0.50% higher than its competitors. Or it should consider what MyBankingDirect tried when it started last year (another New York bank that started an online unit), and offer a sign-up bonus.
Since the rate is no better than EmigrantDirect or HSBC Direct, there's no reason for people to give them a try. You're better off going with a known entity and avoiding potential problems like ACH charges. New online banks will need to give evidence that their bank-to-bank ACH transfer systems work easily, quickly and without charges. The bank OneUnited started offering 5% on its new online savings account last month. OneUnited seemed to have all the online savings account features that you would expect. However, a reader who tried this account was very disappointed in the bank's ACH transfer system (see comment).
Even though there doesn't seem to be any good reason to give Apple Bank a try, another 5% no-minimum savings account should only help encourage banks (like ING Direct) to raise deposit rates.
Apple Bank for Savings is FDIC insured. Theapplebank.com web address is listed in the FDIC entry so you know it's legit. The bank has $7.6 billion in total assets and total liabilities of $7.0 billion. Bankrate.com gives the bank 4 out of 5 stars (sound).