Apple Reportedly to Start an Android Smartphone Trade-In Program

Apple will soon begin taking Android and BlackBerry smartphones in on trade to encourage more smartphone buyers to move to Apple's iPhones, according to a report.

Android smartphone trade-in

Apple is reportedly aiming to boost its iPhone sales even more than current high levels by offering a trade-in program for Android and BlackBerry smartphone users so they can move over to iPhones and get credit for their old phones.

The planned trade-in program was revealed in a March 16 story by BloombergBusiness, based on unnamed sources who have knowledge of Apple's plans. Apple has been accepting its own iPhones in trade since 2013 from its customers, but this new program will mark the first time that the company has accepted Android or BlackBerry phones in trade for iPhones, the article said.

An Apple spokesperson told eWEEK in an email reply to an inquiry that the company has no comment on the report about a pending trade-in program.

The upcoming trade-in program is believed to be starting soon, according to reports.

Apple certainly doesn't seem to need much help selling its iPhones, however. In January, Apple reported its best-ever quarter, posting $74.6 billion in revenue and $18 billion in net profits for the first fiscal quarter of 2015, due to a consumer frenzy of sales of its latest iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones, Mac computers and sales of apps and more in the company's App Store.

Apple sold 74.5 million iPhones around the world in the quarter, an increase of 46 percent from the 51 million iPhones Apple sold in the year-earlier quarter. Revenue for iPhones in the quarter totaled $51.2 billion, up from $32.5 billion in the same quarter the previous year. The record first-quarter sales of iPhones were led by the September 2014 release of the company's latest smartphones, the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus.

Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus helped the company capture about 50 percent of fourth-quarter 2014 smartphone sales in the United States, enabling the company to handily beat its closest competitor, Samsung, by a two-to-one margin, according to an earlier eWEEK report.

The U.S. fourth-quarter sales figures from the Chicago-based Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) analyst firm showed Apple's market share for the quarter was 50 percent, followed by 26 percent for Samsung, 11 percent for LG, 4 percent for Motorola and 2 percent for HTC, according to CIRP's figures. Nokia had 2 percent of the sales, while Amazon had 1 percent. Blackberry sales did not even reach 1 percent for the quarter, according to the figures.

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were a big hit during the first weekend of sales in September 2014, when the company sold more than 10 million devices after their debut, setting a new all-time record for first-weekend iPhone sales since the smartphones first hit the market back in June 2007.

Other smartphone vendors and mobile carriers have been offering trade-in credits or payments on old smartphones for quite some time.

In November 2014, BlackBerry offered iPhone owners rebates of up to $550 to trade in their devices through Feb. 13 on a new BlackBerry Passport smartphone, which was priced at the time at $599. The Passport phones first went on sale in September and sold out within six hours of their announcement on BlackBerry's own Website and within 10 hours on after they went on sale, according to an earlier eWEEK report. The BlackBerry Passport smartphones for enterprise users include a full HD display that is 4.5 inches square, which will allow 60 characters to be typed across its screen, compared with about 40 for a typical smartphone, according to BlackBerry.

Back in September 2014, mobile carrier T-Mobile launched its own program to lure consumers to trade in their old smartphones and tablets by guaranteeing higher trade-in values than those being offered by its major competitors, according to an earlier eWEEK report. The idea was to make it more affordable for customers to be able to obtain the latest devices and extend or bring their new business to T-Mobile. By paying more than competitors for old devices, T-Mobile said it hoped to attract more customers when the device prices themselves were likely the same from all carriers.