The smartphone aftermarket is red hot these days, with U.S. carriers already diving in with greedy hands open, and Apple Retail rumored to be getting into the game as well. With new iPhones hitting the shelves every year - including rumored iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c this year - and some segment always looking to upgrade early, getting value from those trade-ins in more price-sensitive and emerging markets is just too attractive a proposition for anyone to pass up. iMore's been able to independently confirm that information about the trade-in program is making its way into retail, but Mark Gurman has a ton of details up already on 9to5Mac:
Apple is beginning final preparations to launch an iPhone trade-in program in its retail stores as soon as next month, according to sources with knowledge of the initiative. This trade-in program will allow customers that own earlier versions of the iPhone, such as the iPhone 4S, to bring the phone into an Apple Store and exchange it for a new iPhone model, like the iPhone 5, at a discounted price…
iPhone is Apple's single biggest money maker, and it makes a ton of sense that they'd want to pull as much profit out of it as possible, both by making the Apple Store the best possible place to buy (and not having to split with other retailers), and the best possible place to trade-in (and not leave any money on the table for other after-market resellers).
This is operations, it's Tim Cook's forte. Once you have the supply chain as tight as possible, the retail chain is the next most obvious goal post to move. What do you do when you have the best selling phone? Sell it better.
Apple will be briefing their retail divisions as soon as today, so more information will no doubt be forthcoming soon. In the meantime, do you typically trade-in your old iPhones when the new one becomes available? And if so, what could make Apple your go-to?