Apple Preps In-store iPhone Trade-in Program

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Apple is planning on starting its own in-store trade-in program for iPhones later this month. The program, according to anonymous sources, will help drive iPhone 5 sales while collecting older models to refurbish and sell in other markets.

Apple wants your old iPhoneApple wants your old iPhone

Sources speaking with Bloomberg said Apple is teaming up with Brightstar, which is the same company that handles the trade-in programs for AT&T as well as T-Mobile. AT&T will pay upwards of US$200 for iPhone 4 and 4S models, which is enough to draw in many potential customers. If Apple does the same, it could recover more iPhones that otherwise might end up sitting in drawers.

Apple already offers iPhone recylcing through its website, but adding an in-store trade-in program can help boost the number of old phones coming in since some customers will see the option as more convenient than requesting a shipping box from the company. Plus, Apple already offers an in-store trade-in program for old iPods.

This new push into the refurbished iPhone market will give Apple more inventory to work with in emerging markets outside the United States where customers want the company's products but can't afford the price of brand new models. The program may also help Apple compete against Samsung in markets where Android-based smartphones sell better because of lower price points.

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Finding more ways to get iPhones into consumer's hands makes sense even though Apple already has a wildly successful product. Giving buyers more economical ways to start using iPhones ultimately means more life-long Apple customers, and more people using the company's other services, like the iTunes Store, as well.

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