Feature Article

August 30, 2013

Apple's Trade-In Program Arrives At All Stores

Recent reports suggest that Apple had plans to roll out a trade-in program with all its stores, though the reports were somewhat sketchy in nature with some putting the launch date in September and other reports putting the launch date as having already arrived. But now, sources are saying Apple confirmed the program's existence, and though there are still some gray areas, is ready to roll.

The store-based trade-in program is said to work in a fashion similar to the online version, with participants getting an Apple Store gift card when handing in the old phone. Reports from CNBC, however, indicate that participants will have to not only sign up for a new carrier contract when making the trade-in, but will also have to put all the credit issued as part of the trade-in toward the purchase of the new device.

Earlier reports had said that the trade-in value of the device would likely be decided via a series of questions asked from a Web site accessible by staff at Apple Store locations, and once the overall quality of the device was determined, a specific amount of credit would be issued. The exact amount of that credit is as yet unknown, though judging from Apple's recycling program; it may actually be less than what others in the field—including Amazon, NextWorth, Gazelle, Best Buy and others—are offering for the devices.

However, there is a note of convenience that's hard to discount when bringing the device in to the place in which users will buy a new one. Considering that Apple may have a new iPhone in the works for a September 10 launch – it makes the reports of a new trade-in program at Apple Store locations well worth it.

Considering the number of carriers out there who are bringing in trade-in programs, for Apple to not have a hand in that would be missing an opportunity. Now that Apple seems to be getting in line with the rest of the industry, it will be better equipped to get more iPhones in more people's hands. It doesn't hurt matters either that a recent NPD survey suggested right now, just 13 percent of customers trade in old phones and 40 percent of smartphone buyers over the last year ending June 2013 were first-time smartphone buyers. The more visible these programs are, some project, the more likely they are to be put to use.

Only time will tell if this is a move of sufficient impact to keep people interested. Chances are though, when the new iPhone comes rolling out, there will be crowds of happy shoppers with old iPhones in hand, ready to land the biggest and newest of the breed.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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