Apple 2.0

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MacRumors: Apple set to ship old iPhones to Third World

August 26, 2013: 2:21 PM ET

To avoid cannibalizing new models, Apple would sell old ones cheap to underserved markets.


Photo: Protocol Snow

FORTUNE -- In early June, Bloomberg's Peter Burrows reported that before the end of the month Apple (AAPL) would launch a trade-in program to make it easier for existing iPhone owners to upgrade to an iPhone 5.

June came and went. July as well, and most of August.

It turns out Burrows got both the month wrong and the model Apple would be pushing.

According to MacRumors' Eric Slivka, the company is just now getting ready to begin a nationwide iPhone trade-in program designed to swap huge numbers of old phones for huge numbers of new ones.

On Monday, Slivka writes, first line staffers at U.S. Apple stores will get their instructions. The rest will get theirs next week, well before September 10.

By then, according to pretty much everybody, Apple will be ready to have customers upgrade to even newer phones: A faster iPhone 5S and a cheaper iPhone 5C.

There was one angle -- perhaps the most interesting -- that Burrows didn't get wrong. The trade-in program, according to someone who was blabbing to Bloomberg two months ago, kills two of Apple's birds with one stone:

"Used iPhones collected in the U.S. will only be resold in emerging markets, where Apple's share is lower and demand for cheap devices is greater, said one of the people. That way, the resale of Apple's older models won't cannibalize iPhone 5 sales in the U.S., the person said."

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Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for

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