Technology

Apple begins offering trade-in credit for damaged iPhones

Apple Inc. has begun offering trade-in credit for damaged iPhones, a strategy that could encourage people to buy a newer model rather than try to fix or bear with their current device.

Apple is under pressure from investors to show that slowing sales of iPhones isn’t a long-term trend. Fostering more upgrades should help, as will selling more refurbished iPhones in countries where original devices remain too expensive for most people.

Previously, Apple required iPhone displays, buttons and cameras to be intact for consumers to get up to $350 toward the purchase of a new iPhone. The maximum credit cuts the price of the latest iPhone, the 6S, by more than half.

Cracked screens and other issues will cut into the trade-in value, limiting it to between $50 for the iPhone 5S and $200 for the iPhone 6 Plus, an Apple spokesman said Friday.

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But the new policy still makes upgrades more attractive than before. Apple is directing people to its stores to get the most accurate appraisal, though trade-ins also may be processed online.

Other vendors including Gazelle and Usell provide credit for turning in iPhones, and major wireless carriers also accept old iPhones in exchange for credit.

Also Friday, a research firm said the Apple Watch accounted for two-thirds of all smartwatch shipments in 2015.

Apple shipped 5 million watches in the fourth quarter for a total of 12 million last year, according to Canalys. Samsung and Pebble came in second and third, respectively, for the year.

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Apple hasn’t provided exact sales figures, other than to say that more Apple Watches were purchased in the fourth quarter than the third. The company hasn’t launched a trade-in program for the Watch, a spokesman said.

Chat with me on Twitter @peard33

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