Apple officially launches in-store trade-in program

Apple confirms and launches its much anticipated trade-in program, but expect a new contract

Technology trends and news by Faith Merino
August 30, 2013
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As the high-end smartphone market reaches a saturation point, cheap smartphones are the wave of the future. Apple’s getting on board with its long talked-about reduced price iPhones (which will have plastic cases), but why go through the hassle of paying for millions of new cheaper phones when you can simply collect used phones, refurbish them, and sell them in emerging markets like China and India?

That may or may not be Apple’s plan with its new trade-in program, which has been chugging along in the rumor mill for months but has been officially confirmed today by Jon Fortt. The in-store trade-in program launched today to much fanfare.

Of course, Best Buy, Amazon, Verizon, and Gazelle already had iPhone trade-in programs. Apple’s program will reportedly give you a higher trade-in value for your used phone than Best Buy, but a lower value than Amazon.

The details are still fuzzy, with some news outlets reporting that customers will get store credit or gift cards for their used iPhones. But Wired reports that Apple has denied this and said that you must trade in your working, non-water-damaged iPhone for another iPhone. We have reached out to Apple for more information.

Apple’s trade-in, refurbishing, and resale process is being handled by Brightstar, which is currently offering $253 for a 16GB iPhone 5 in good condition, or $279 for an unlocked iPhone 5, according to Wired. The trade-in program is accepting all iPhone generations—even the original one.

Interestingly, the program is only for in-store trades, which is probably because Apple doesn’t want you to just take your money and turn around and buy a Kindle Fire or a pygmy goat or something. (Side note: I want a pygmy goat SO BAD.) If you’re in the store, chances are you’re going to buy something.

If the iPhone you want to upgrade to is out-of-stock, you won’t be able to trade in your used iPhone. You will also have to walk out of the store with a new or extended contract.

In anticipation for the iPhone 5S, Best Buy is offering a half-off iPhone 5 trade-in special, which will give customers at least 50% off of a new 16GB or 32GB iPhone 5 when they trade in their used phone. But once again, customers will have to sign a new two-year contracts with either AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon.

Walmart is offering a similar deal, cutting the iPhone 5 to $98 with a two-year contract.



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