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cracked iphoneApple is starting an in-store iPhone trade-in program, according to a report in Bloomberg, just days after also starting an in-store screen replacement process.

Clearly, we are not upgrading our phones as quickly as Apple would like.

Apple is reportedly working with Brightstar, which calls itself the “global leader in buy-back and trade-in” for mobile devices, to manage the program. Brightstar says it offers real-time pricing, instant trade-in credit, and easy access via a web-pased platform. Although, if a trade-in program is eventually fully integrated into the Apple Store sales process, Apple would likely add trade-in capabilities to its iOS-based point of sale system.

And Brightstar offers an in-store program would enable that:

“Take advantage of the decreasing device life cycle and enable end-users to turn in their used phones for cash and credit toward new purchases at your stores,” Brightstar’s site says.

The new program would also affect Apple’s relationships with the mobile carriers that have helped drive it to massive market share in the U.S. AT&T, for example, already works with Brightstar to enable trade-in programs.

“It appears that Apple will focus on in-store trade-ins at the time of a new purchase,” Israel Ganot, CEO of Brightstar competitor Gazelle said. “Though there is room for many winners in what we see as a huge market, our approach is different. Gazelle is focused on offering the best online trade-in experience for those consumers who want to do so online and after they have bought a new device.”

Currently, a factory-unlocked iPhone 5 in flawless condition is worth $370 on Gazelle.

According to the report, phones traded in within the U.S. will only be sold overseas in developing markets. Don’t expect to see the devices sold via an Apple store or even an Apple website, however. Becoming known as a used-phone vendor would not enhance Apple’s brand at all.

Rather, Brightstar will almost certainly sell the phones at distribution and action sites.

photo credit: Tom Raftery via photopin cc

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