Apple wants you to use your iPhone for three years… then 'do one last great thing with it'

Apple's latest ad encourages users to do their part for the planet and trade in their old iPhone after they are done with it. But how much of this is related to the environment, and how much is Apple crassly tugging at user's heartstrings in order to sell more iPhones?
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Apple's latest ad encourages people who "have done great things" with their iPhone and who are "ready for something new" to "do one last great thing" with it and trade it in "so someone new can do their own great things with it."

It's one of those ads that tugs enthusiastically at the heartstrings, but scratch at the veneer and you realize that it's crass commercialism.

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Apple knows (and mentions it on its environmental Q&A page) that what happens to a lot of old iPhones once the first owner is done with them (according to Apple, the first owner holds onto iOS and watchOS devices for three years, and Macs and Apple TV devices for four), is that they are passed on to family or friends. While this is good in that it keeps a device in the Apple ecosystem, it also means that Apple is losing out on a sale. 

By encouraging people to trade in old devices, Apple could be onto something interesting here.

Not only does it give customers that warm fuzzy feeling that they are doing something good for the planet (holding onto their existing iPhone might be the best thing they could do to be honest, but that's not exciting, is it?), but it also simultaneously allows Apple to control the value of older iPhone, thus encouraging people to upgrade, while also allowing them to get their hands on older iPhones so they can be recycled and resold.

At a time when iPhone sales are weakening, this could help shift the needle on sales… at least a little.

Does this encourage you to trade in your old iPhone, or would you rather sell it yourself, or pass it on to someone you know? Let me know!

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