The trade-in programme will allow customers that own earlier versions of the iPhone, such as the iPhone 4 or 4S, to bring the device into an Apple Store and exchange it for a new iPhone model – like the iPhone 5 – at a discounted price.
A launch date for the programme is yet to be confirmed, but sources told technology blog 9to5Mac that the formal launch is currently due sometime in September.
TechCrunch reports that the the trade-in programme is already being piloted in some Apple stores in the United States. A source told the website that iPhones brought in for exchange are inspected by an Apple employee and the owner is asked a series of questions about the condition of the device in order to determine a value.
The owner is then offered a price based on colour, physical damage and liquid damage. The range is said to be around $120-200 (£90-150) for 16GB iPhone 4 and 4S models. A 16GB iPhone 5 in good condition could go for around $250, although prices could change before the programme is rolled out more broadly.
The value is then added to an Apple gift card, which can be used towards the purchase of a new iPhone. The trade-in programme is only applicable if the person is in the store to get a new phone, so they cannot just trade it for a gift card.
A number of third-party iPhone sellers already offer trade-in programmes. However, Apple chief executive Tim Cook is keen to sell more devices from Apple stores. Only 20 per cent of iPhones are sold directly from Apple Retail.
During the company’s last earnings call, Cook said that he was “not opposed” to trade-in programmes, adding: “I see channels doing it, and I like the environmental aspect of it, and so that part of it really is encouraging to me.”
Although some of the third-party trade-in schemes offer a better price for old iPhones, it is hoped that Apple’s programme will entice more customers into stores.
Apple also operates a recycling programme by mail, which covers a wide variety of products and is not offered in-store. If a customer wishes to trade in an old broken device for which there is no monetary value, they can do so as a simple recycle.