Saturday, June 08, 2013

Apple to begin in-store iPhone trade-in program: Source

Some -- not all -- believe that Apple's iDevices have jumped the shark, and that Android and even Windows Phone are leading the way in terms of innovation. Investors aren't blind to this, either, with Apple stock dropping from a 52-week high of over $700 a share to its current below-$450 a share value. With that, an inside source said on Thursday that the company will soon start an iPhone trade-in program aimed at generating upgrades to the iPhone 5 from older models.

The information comes from the typical "people with knowledge of the program" who -- also typically -- wished to remain anonymous as Apple hasn't publicized the program yet. Brightstar, a mobile phone distributor, will run the exchange program for Apple, according tot he report.

Other companies already offer iPhone trade-ins of one type of another. Notably, Brightstar already handles trade-ins for iPhone carriers AT&T and T-Mobile USA.
Even big box retailers such as Best Buy offer such programs. There is high demand for refurbished iDevices such as the iPhone 4 and 4S in areas such as emerging markets -- and even from frugal U.S. consumers.

It is indeed the case that some Apple fans are so crazy for the devices that they eschew their device upgrade periods. Rather than waiting for their subsidized device upgrade to be available, they pay full price for Apple's latest iPhone, whenever it is released. To be honest, craze over Samsung phones have reached that frenzied point -- for some -- as well.

Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics LLC in Dedham, Massachusetts, said:
This will help them sell more phones, because it will lower the consumer’s out-of-pocket expense.
There are, of course, other third-party sites that offer payment for older devices. Nextworth and Gazelle stand out among them. However, the ability to simple perform the entire transaction at an Apple retailer eases makes it easier for consumers who simply don't want to go through the trouble of visiting multiple sites to get their discounts.

In addition, while locations such as AT&T offer trade-ins, Apple always has the greatest number of iPhones in-stock when a new model is released.

Apple has paid little attention to the refurbished iPhone market until now. However, with Samsung offering the company a huge rival -- Samsung is the world's largest cell phone, not smartphone, manufacturer globally, Apple has had little choice but to embrace other ways to up its bottom line, analysts note.

Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) runs net week from June 10-14 at the Moscone West Center. While Apple is expected to launch iRadio, its new streaming music service, along with iOS 7, it's possible the new trade-in program will be announced, as well.

Apple is not expected to launch a new iPhone or iPad at WWDC.

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