Apple Wants to Buy Your Used Phones, Report says

Apple reportedly has partnered with a buy-back wireless distributor to begin offering an in-store trade-in program this month.

The company is called Brightstar, and it already handles trade-ins for AT&T and T-Mobile, Bloomberg says.

Bloomberg cites anonymous sources, and Apple hasn’t officially announced it. Both Apple and Brightstar declined to comment on Bloomberg’s story.

However, Brightstar may have let the cat out of the bag last September. From The Miami Herald:

“We’ve been discussing distributing for [Apple] for a long time. We finally signed a distribution agreement,” said [Brightstar chairman and CEO Marcelo] Claure, who declined to discuss the agreement in detail. He said Brightstar signed a “global distribution agreement” in late May with Cupertino, California-based Apple that “complements what Apple does.”

Apple may be taking interest in the resale market now because of slowing growth, Bloomberg says. The company’s shares have declined 38 percent from their record price last fall and are down 17 percent for the year.

On top of that, Samsung dethroned Apple as the best-selling brand in May. Offering iPhone users a cheaper way to upgrade to a new model would boost Apple’s sales.

Details of the program aren’t available, since Apple has remained mum. Presumably values would be comparable with current trade-in programs. “AT&T is currently paying as much as $200 for working iPhone 4s and 4Ss, which could let some customers buy an entry-level iPhone 5 for no money down,” Bloomberg says.

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