Apple has started the roll-out and training of U.S. based retail employees for a new iPhone trade-in program. This would allow for customers to trade-in their old iPhones in exchange for a credit towards a newer model. The iPhones would then be recycled by Brightstar. TechCrunch writes that the program is currently being piloted in a number of stores.
As for requirements, they appear consistent with trade-in programs from other retailers. iPhones must be in working order and have no liquid damage. Values for the trade-in are dependent upon the condition of the device. Customers will be asked a series of questions, which will help Apple determine the value. Sample values have reportedly been lower than using sites like Gazelle. For example, a 16GB iPhone 5 fetches $250. Gazelle offers $315 to $330, but you have to mail it in which creates a waiting period. The advantage here is one-stop shopping. You can bring in a used iPhone and walk out with a new one. Of course, there are other variables such as your contract status and willingness to cover the difference for a new iPhone. The gift card received from the trade-in is not eligible for use on other products. You must also be eligible for an upgrade credit from your carrier. It’s not clear how Apple is navigating the ETF process. The goal here is to make it a smooth process. Customer walks in with old out-of-contract iPhone, receives some cash and walks out with a new iPhone.
Macrumors reports that materials have been sent out to participating Apple retail stores in anticipation of the program start, with store trainers set to start today. 9to5Mac reports that program will get underway nationwide starting in September. With the new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C coming around the third week of September, the program should be in place, allowing customers to trade-up.
If you’re looking to sell your iPhone in advance of the new model, the best way is to sell privately using either Craigslist or eBay. Online services like Gazelle and Apple’s new program are convenient, but won’t offer you the best value for your old iPhone.