Frugality Spending

What Apple and Car Salesmen Have In Common?

apple products, car salesmen, product selling


Last week Apple introduced an iPhone trade-in program which would allow current iPhone owners to get up to $280 for their current iPhone towards the purchase of a shiny new iPhone. It’s called the “reuse and recycle” plan which a company spokesman touts as being good for the environment.

I say big deal.

Let’s be honest, this has nothing to do with the environment or doing right by their customers and has everything to do with hype. The program was introduced ahead of the imminent release of the next generation iPhone, most likely in an attempt to generate the best sales numbers they can.

Let’s take a look at what has to be true for you to be able to trade-in your iPhone:

  • Has to power on
  • Has to be free of water damage
  • Customer has to still be under contract

One would also have to assume that the better condition it is in, the more you’ll get for your iPhone. But, even if you get the maximum, customers will get around half of what they paid for their phone.

The target of this trade-in program is really the tech lover that must have the latest thing from Apple and likely just bought the iPhone 5 less than a year ago. Do they need a new phone? Nope, but they’re willing to burn the money on a new phone and having an easy way to dump their current phone detaches them from any residual reminder laying around that they may have just dropped some serious coin on an unnecessary upgrade. This group of people, and their sales, will generate buzz about the new product, hopefully resulting in even more people buying the new phone.

On the other end of the spectrum, about this time last year my wife was due for a phone upgrade and purchased an iPhone 4 for $1. She absolutely loves it. However, prior to deciding on it she had agonized over whether to get the iPhone 5 which was brand new at the time. One evening we saw a skit on a late night talk show where the host handed people on the street an older model iPhone and told them it was the iPhone 5. In some cases it was the EXACT same phone the passerby owned. Just being told it was an iPhone 5 threw them into a frenzy of complements of how awesome the new phone was compared to what they currently had.

The next day my wife picked up her iPhone 4.

In many ways, cell phones have become like cars, and Apple is the new age car salesman:

  1. Both products serve a primary function, but have also become a status symbol.
  2. Both products can be traded in at the dealership in exchange for credit for a new one.
  3. Both product can be sold privately for more than the dealer will give you for it
  4. Many people trade in their current model even though it’s working just fine

Apple is offering the convenience of a single one stop shop to dump your old phone and pick up a new phone. They’re hoping that by doing so you will succumb to your desire to have the latest in the most visible status symbol of the modern day and stop by the nearest Apple store.

Sorry Apple, I’ll be doing the same thing I’m doing with my current car. I’ll be driving my $1 iPhone4 until it dies.

What do you think about Apple’s new trade-in program? Will you be trading in your iPhone and buying the latest?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • I will admit. This is tough for me. I’m a gadget freak. I love new tech. However, with the 6 month baby roaming the house, any loss on anything let alone an upgrade from my current iPhone 5 is not happening anytime soon.

    Over at NWW today, I talk about the question to ask and it has nothing to do with money. I think it fits in really well with this article today Brock. Great breakdown by the way.

    The Warrior

  • I definitely agree smartphones, not just Iphones, have become a status symbol. You have to have the latest version or you are poor and behind the times. It’s crazy my galaxy 3 does the same as the galaxy 4 I’m not going to put down more money after just getting this new phone.

  • @TheWarrior – LOL, especially with a 6 month old running around – not only do you have expenses, but a built in phone danger zone. 🙂 I just read your post (and left a comment but I think it’s in your spam filter), and really enjoyed your perspective. I’m planning on including in my roundup tomorrow. 🙂

  • @Sam – that’s a good point, Sam – it is smartphones in general. The added features from one generation to the next are rarely any reason to drop hundreds of dollars for! Thanks for your comment!

  • I am a Blackberry user – and for the time being I don’t have any plans to change that. I just saw the Steve Jobs movie and it WAS NOT good. I could watch the Facebook movie over and over again, but not a big fan of the Apple movie…and it was all about Apple – not about Steve Jobs.

  • @Tahnya – oooh, that’s too bad (that the movie wasn’t good). Although I really didn’t have any plans to see it. Steve Jobs was a jerk to his employees, and I cringe with all the positive media that guy has gotten over the years.

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