Apple’s shrewdly radical iPhone trade-in program

“Apple’s trade-in program ensures that the customer experience starts — and restarts — with Apple again and again. Right now, Apple needs cellular service provider partners,” Chris Maxcer reports for MacNewsWorld. “Down the road, however, when these providers end up selling services a la carte, Apple will be ready with products, channels and customers ready to buy Apple and add services later.”

“In the meantime, Apple’s trade-in program doesn’t seem particularly dangerous — nor does it look compelling to tech-savvy users who know their way around eBay. Apple’s reported US$120-to-$250 trade-in values tend to be less than what many customers could potentially get if they just sold their iPhone themselves — or used a trade-in or broker service from a company like Best Buy, DeviceFlip, Gazelle or NextWorth,” Maxcer reports. “Heck, even Amazon has an electronics trade-in program that lets customers send in iPhones in exchange for Amazon gift cards — with free shipping, no less. Right now, an AT&T-based iPhone 5 with 16 GB could go for more than $400.”

Maxcer reports, “What Apple brings to the table, though, is convenience. Plenty of customers are willing to give up potential iPhone sales money in favor of an easy process without risk.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. I’ll trade in my iPhone 5 for the 5S at the apple store as soon as I can. It’ll be very convenient and my phone is a tax write off for my business anyhow so I don’t care if I could get more money for it elsewhere.

  2. This is just the same as trading in your old car at the dealership. You get less money than selling it yourself but don’t have to deal with the hassle.
    FWIW, selling through Gizmondo is not that difficult so if you are concerned about getting an extra $50 for your phone then take that route.
    I did this with my last phone upgrade and I can tell you it certainly takes the sting out out paying $400 for a new phone. Unless you want to keep your old phone as a backup or hand me down then this is a smart deal. It is also environmentally friendly since your old unit gets to have another few years of useful life.

    1. Yep. Plus it gives Apple 100% control over the upgrade process. They can make sure folks info is transferred even going so far as setting up iCloud accounts for folks that haven’t had one and initiating an iCloud backup.

      Folks leave the Apple Store with a new iPhone setup exactly as they want.

    2. Excellent point, but the last time around (2 years ago buying two 4S phones) we just used the Verizon web site via our long-standing account page, ordered what we wanted (64 GB), agreed to the contract extension and it was done–no hassles with the Verizon Samsung-pushing sales nerds in the local store. There was some backorder delay due to supply constraints but in 3 weeks or so we got notice of the FedEx shipping. No iPhones to trade/sell at the time so that was that. This time we may consider the Apple trade in program when we get 2 new 5S phones for the reasons brought up by others here.

      But that raises a question: all Apple Stores can have different supply/demand, but how well are they normally stocked when new phones release? And if they are sold out when you walk in will they take a back order and email you when your phone(s) are in? Or is it a come back and try again next week type of thing? We’re lucky enough to have an Apple Store locally, but it is still a 25 minute drive, parking hassles, etc. Not something I would want to repeat over and over hoping our luck improves. If they don’t/can’t make the supply/demand thing work smoothly inside the store, it may just be easier to re-do the Verizon web site order, electronically renew the contract and wait for our turn in the backorder queue for shipment and ultimately send the 4S phones off to Gazelle or the like to sell them. Appreciate any insight some of you might have.

    3. or AT&T sales guys. I went to AT&T for a 4S, the guy approached me, I told him I wanted an iPhone 4S, he tried like heck to sell me a Droid. I pushed back, and he still pushed the Droid even after I showed him my own mug in an Apple related online ad!

      1. Since this anti-Apple thing is apparent in both major stores, Verison and AT&T, I’m starting to wonder if there aren’t some hidden kick-backs for the sales force to push the Droids?

  3. It has quite a few advantages:

    1. It drives traffic directly to Apple stores which will obviously be positive in additional sales.
    2. It keeps customers away from mobile phone salespeople looking to convert them to Samsh*t.
    3. It will help sell the new 5S over the lower cost 5 and 5C. Assuming most people are tied into a contract why would you go for the lower priced alternative.
    4. It will decrease the overall upgrade time which means more iPhones sold.

  4. and as I read about a great trade in scheme by Apple to keep customers on a site that is so patriotically Apple a Samsung banner scrolls quietly across the screen. MDN screamed at no length about Apple using Samsungs resources for quite some time and now they take their money. Man up MDN. Drop them.

  5. Wish I had an Apple Store near me. 😎 Frankly eeking out the last $ from an upgrade doesn’t really interest me. I’ll take the easy route as long as the pricing isn’t wildly out of range.

    Last time I used Amazon and it was as simple as pie. Plus I get a bit more than Gazelle or Apple Refurb and considering how much I purchase from Amazon, it’s easy to use credit.

    (Or I save the credit and give it out as presents).

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