Your used iPhone has a $280 credit value.
Apple kicked off a long-awaited iPhone trade-in program for its U.S. retail stores on Friday, the latest in its efforts to attract and retain customers for its smartphones.
The Cupertino, Calif. tech giant said its “reuse and recycling” program emphasizes the value of iPhones, even after they’ve been used.
“In addition to helping support the environment, customers will be able to receive a credit for their returned phone that they can use toward the purchase of a new iPhone,” a company spokeswoman said.
To get a credit, customers have to show that their trade-in iPhone works by powering it on. Customers also have to be in wireless carrier contracts when they leave the store, Apple employees said.
Trading in and buying a new phone through the program won’t re-start a customer’s contract, a person familiar with the process said. Additionally, if the cost of phone they’re buying is lower than the trade-in credit they receive, they’ll get a gift card with the remaining balance.
Apple isn’t the first company to offer compensation for used iPhones. Apple, in its stores, is offering as much as $280.
Apple store workers will offer the program to customers as an option to help pay for a new device, and as an alternative to sometimes costly repairs, employees familiar with the program said. In its training for store employees, Apple emphasized that its partnership with Brightstar for the trade-in program will also focus on creating recycling jobs in the U.S. Most the phone’s components will be reused or recycled, one person said.
As part of the program, customers and employees will input information into a specialized system about the iPhone they wish to trade in, including its physical condition (whether it has wear and tear or water damage) before they’re told its value.
The new phone must be activated in the store, one employee noted, and the credit given to customers can’t be used to buy a device that isn’t locked, or tied to a specific carrier.
Apple also offers a trade-in program through its website in a partnership with PowerON, which appears to offer more money — about $400 for a high-end like-new iPhone. That exchange is for an Apple gift card, removing the requirement that customers buy a new iPhone. However, PowerON customers have to initiate the trade-in on the company’s website, and ship the phone through the mail.
Apple’s trade-in program is its latest effort to attract and retain smartphone customers. Unlike offerings from competitors, Apple is requiring trade-in credit only be used toward the purchase of a new iPhone, ensuring customers remain with the company.
Another strategy the company will soon be implement will reduce the entry costs of buying a new iPhone.
In a recent conference call, the company said the iPhone 4, the lowest-price phone it sells, has been popular among first-time smartphone buyers. In order to entice even more customers, Apple has also initiated specialized trade-in offers in other countries, such as India, and it is adding to its retail presence in China.
Apple’s new trade-in program was described earlier by the 9to5Mac blog.