New iPhones for old? Apple launches trade-in program

Summary:Following months without a peep from Cupertino, the anticipation and buzz for a new iPhone generation is reaching a boiling point.

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Despite being a trailblazer in mobile technology, Apple is a little late to the game when it comes to helping customers trade those products back in.

According to CNBC on Friday, the trade-in program is all set to launch today, August 30.

Details are still scarce as Apple itself hasn't published any details, so we'll have to wait and see throughout the day.

But before shoppers can swap their old and weathered iPhones for a brand new device at a lesser cost -- or even for free -- there is a slight catch.

The business news channel reported that all trade-in program participants must leave the stores with a new contract.

That's not terribly surprising or even unreasonable, but it's definitely something to keep in mind for customers in the middle of their subscriptions or even nearing the end.

Compared to some other existing tech trade-in programs, it's not as simple as just as dropping a used iPhone in a bubble-lined envelope with a prepaid shipping label and getting cash back via PayPal.

For example, Gazelle is currently offering up to $210 in cash for a "flawless" used iPhone 4S with 16GB of space from AT&T. Amazon is doling out up to $230 in online store credit for the same model through its own trade-in program.

Apple already has a similar program to the Amazon service, offering store gift cards for used electronics, including iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and even other desktop and laptop PCs.

Of course, consumers would still have to sign up for another contract if electing to buy a brand new iPhone through Apple, but at least there is less work involved in this scenario.

The launch of an iPhone trade-in program is also fueling the fire that Apple is clearing house for a new generation.

Following months without a peep from Cupertino, the anticipation and buzz for the next iPhone is reaching a boiling point.

Analysts and consumers alike might have their wishes (at least concerning a new debut) soon as reports have been circulating , pointing to an unveiling on Tuesday, September 10.

Topics: Mobility, Apple, iOS, iPad, iPhone

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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