Apple is planning to launch its own iPhone trade-in program later this month, sources say. The company is reportedly partnering with Brightstar, a phone distributor that already takes care of trade-ins at carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile, as well as some phone makers. Although the program means paying for used hardware, it could encourage people to upgrade to new products; AT&T for example is paying up to $200 for a working iPhone 4 or 4S, which is enough to cover a 16GB iPhone 5 on contract.
One of the sources tells Bloomberg
that used iPhones bought in the US will only be resold in poorer countries, where Apple has a lower marketshare and cheaper phones are in demand. The strategy is allegedly intended to avoid hurting American iPhone 5 sales.
Carriers, retailers, and specialized outfits have dealt in iPhone trade-ins
for some time. Beyond encouraging people to upgrade, first-party trade-ins should cut Apple into a market it has ordinarily avoided. At the moment, Apple will only pay a small sum for people wanting to recycle old iPhones.