Yesterday, we reported that Apple is gearing up to launch its iPhone trade-in program in September. The program will allow an iPhone user to exchange an older iPhone model for a new iPhone at a discounted price. Today, we’ve learned several new details about the program, including how it works, the official name, and information about the launch.
The trade-in program will be marketed as the “iPhone Reuse and Recycle Program.” It will begin rolling out in select Apple Stores this upcoming Friday, August 30th. Like we previously reported, a larger-scale rollout will occur during the month of September.
The program is applicable to both standard customers and business customers that want to purchase a new iPhone.
Here’s how it will work:
1) A customer tells an Apple Store employee that he/she would like to purchase a new iPhone and trade-in his/her older model. The new iPhone must be an on-contract phone and it must be activated on scene.
2) The Apple Store representative enters information about the customer’s iPhone into an application installed on their mobile EasyPay devices. The EasyPay is normally the device that you will see Apple Store employees carrying around in order to facilitate purchases.
3) Based on the information inputted into the EasyPay, a value for the old iPhone will be provided to the customer. The value will be created based on the following specifics about the old iPhone: Display quality, button quality, overall hardware damage, engraving, liquid damage, and being able to be powered on and used normally.
4) The Apple Store employee will then tell the customer that his/her phone could not be given back once they agree to the provided terms and conditions.
5) However, the customer will be given the opportunity to backup his/her iPhone before turning it in.
6) The Apple Store employee will then provide the customer with their new iPhone, a gift card with the value amount to be paid towards the new iPhone, and a plastic bag. The gift card must be used at that time towards the new phone and it cannot be used toward other products.
7) The Apple Store employee will then process the transaction for the new iPhone and place the old iPhone in the plastic bag.
8) The old SIM card will be given to the customer and the Apple Store employee will offer to setup the new iPhone.
This process can either occur on the store sales floor or at the Genius Bar.
We have also confirmed that the traded in iPhones will be shipped to and processed by BrightStar. The aforementioned old iPhones in plastic bags will be packed up into large cardboard boxes to be shipped to BrightStar. BrightStar has not replied to requests for comment on the matter.
Contrary to recent reports, these recycled iPhones will not be sent overseas for sales in emerging markets. The phones will be recycled for use only in the United States. Sources described this as part of Apple’s new theme of promoting its dedication to the United States. This was previously evident in Apple naming its new Mac operating systems after places in California and the manufacturing of the upcoming Mac Pro in Texas.
While this upcoming program is primarily built to be a trade-in program, this will also be Apple’s new in-store recycling program. Non-functional iPhones that are not worth any money will also be able to be recycled via this initiative through BrightStar.
The iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, and iPhone 5 are eligible for both the trade-in and recycling aspects of the program. The program will be supported in the United States first, and it could reach international markets in the future.
We also understand that the pilot programs that occurred in Dallas, Texas over the past couple of weeks have been exclusive to testing internal procedures, and they have not been for customers.
The program is so vital to Apple that its retail employees will be provided overtime payment in order to ensure that the two hours of mandatory training is complete by the Friday launch date.
We’ve also been told that the trade-in pricing for the iPhones is slightly below the competition. For example, an unlocked, undamaged iPhone 5 16GB will be worth around $279, while an AT&T 16GB iPhone 5 will be worth $253 (which is around the pricing reported by TechCrunch). Gazelle currently offers $330 for both of those devices. A GSM 8GB iPhone 4 will be worth between $120 and $140, while the CDMA version will be worth around $80. However, sources say that the pricing will constantly fluctuate due to supply and demand of particular iPhone models.
Apple CEO Tim Cook is utilizing this new initiative as a way to boost sales in his large chain of retail stores. At a meeting for high-level retail employees in July, Cook said that iPhone sales are not strong enough in Apple Stores. With this new trade-in program, perhaps sales numbers will rise. The timing of a rollout prior to the launch of both the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C makes sense; it could be a way to ensure the record breaking launch weekend sales numbers that Apple has enjoyed for multiple years.
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