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Apple's rumored iPhone trade-in program launching as soon as next month

Apple's rumored iPhone trade-in program launching as soon as next month

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?

Source: 9to5Mac

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Apple's rumored iPhone trade-in program launching as soon as next month

14 Comments

They will probably give you credit for the value of the phone. If that credit is more then what your upgrade cost would be. Then you are good. If not then you would still have a difference to cover.

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I think it's a great idea. I would "probably" take advantage of it depending on the details. For a long time I would sell my device privately and then go out and purchase the latest offerings. If my current device fetches more on the open market, however, then it wouldn't make sense for someone like me to trade it in at Apple but I guess there is a whole segment that would still take advantage of it, especially those technologically inept which I would guess is still a large population.

It will appeal to people like me who are sick of dealing with idiots and scammers on CL. The convenience of a one-stop shop for trade in and purchase of a phone would be worth taking a small hit on the trade in allowance.

If I could trade in my iPhone 5 and get the new iPhone 5S for $200 or less before taxes I would absolutely do it.

I've kept all my iPhones every time I upgraded. I DJ with my old ones and a iPod/iPhone compatible mixer and load the old phones with various music to use in the bar.

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If providers' contracts can be amended to allow it, then I may be on board with it, depending upon actual trade-in value. So far, Gazelle has gotten all my old hardware.

Glad you wrote up this article, Rene. Today I was wondering what should I do, upgrade my phone with subsidized pricing and have two more years with Verizon (I am currently free as a bird), but yet lose my grandfathered unlimited data and bite the 2gb limit and watch what I do on the 4G LTE (lightning speed) network, or buy a new iPhone outright, keep unlimited, stay contract-free with Verizon, and just pay the phone out of pocket full price and enjoy unlimited 4G LTE use. I think you made some kind of article about buying phones full price, but not sure where to find it, have searched, but no cigar. If you haven't, could you write one up when you have a chance? (as if you don't have too much going on already). If you could provide me the link or someone can specify which, in the long run, is a better deal, that'd be great as well. I do plan on staying with Verizon, but really, honestly, don't want to lose unlimited (how dare them! lol). I don't use much of my data, not even close to 1gb, but that is only because I use wifi whenever available and it's mostly available at home, but that's because it's faster than 3G, but if I get 2gb lte, I would want to use that as it is fast over wifi! lol. I currently have the iPhone 4, and I do want to upgrade, but really wished the new iPhone was wider not just longer. So that's another thing not making me want to upgrade my phone just yet (ugh wait another year? grrr). But I realllllly want a faster phone and that bitch Siri. lol. If Apple were to allow iPhone 4 trade ins, with decent discount towards a new phone, then I would think about it as well. As one mentioned, sometimes it's better to sell to public and get more than what apple or others would offer. And if they do this are they going to make us have to sign a new 2 year with our providers or just give us a gift card with the amount on it so we can go out and buy whatever we want?

Apple will undoubtedly make a big deal about this but I'm a bit skeptical about how useful it will be for a lot of us. The point of a retailer taking trade ins is to give a low-ball price for the instant satisfaction of getting money off of new hardware. Not saying that is bad, it is a classic trade off, but I'm not exactly excited for it.

This only applies if they do it like every other retailer, of course. Either way it really is a big business right now. AT&T, Sprint, Gazelle, shady 1800 numbers, and there is even a company called ecoATM that will take trade ins of phones at unmanned kiosks in different malls.

I would love this if it permitted me to upgrade my current iPhone without affecting the status of my current contract - but we all know this won't happen. (If I keep saving my money, I might be able to afford an unlocked iPhone 6 next year!)
Although I'd prefer to stick with the iPhone in a "pro" configuration, as I see an iPhone C being a more consumer friendly model, I would seriously consider side-grading to an iPhone C if it wouldn't cause me to sign another 2 year contract.

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If indeed this becomes a reality and i purchased my 4S from my local Apple Retail Store for sure this will be my choice again within a month of the new phone coming out. One reason is because I like to wait and see what issues the new phone is going to have in the public sector once released and I know i can go in and within less than 1/2 hour I am going to walk out with a new setup properly working phone.
I have always done this and with a discounted phone as long as it at least equals the phone I want to buy, For me it is an easy choice for me.
Kudos for Apple for coming up with this trade in program.

I always buy my iPhones from the Apple store and I always buy factory unlocked. So I would definitely take advantage of the trade in except that from what I read the trade in value is for an iPhone you buy that will be on contract. I don't want to buy an iPhone on contract so if that is the case I'll be very disappointed.