Trade In That Ugly Old Slow Useless iPhone 4S

That’s the bandwagon Apple is jumping on:

Gazelle’s purchase process is simple for an iPhone: Specify your model, memory and carrier on-line, then chose its condition: broken, good or flawless. Gazelle immediately displays their purchase offer. If you accept the offer they’ll mail you a box. When they receive and confirm your iPhone’s condition, you’re paid by check, PayPal or Amazon gift card.

Earlier this year Apple decided to join the iPhone trade-in market. In fact, on Monday insiders reported that some Apple stores have alerady been testing the program at select stores. Training for the chain-wide roll-out of trade-ins is about to begin, the reports say.

Details are slim on exactly how Apple’s program will work, only that it will be in conjunction with Brightstar . But it seems that unlike Gazelle’s program, Apple will only be offering you credit towards the purchase of a new iPhone, not cash. And reportedly, you can only use the credit if you’re eligible for an iPhone upgrade from a cellular carrier.

Apple’s program sounds too limited for my tastes — I’ve always preferred a fistful of dollars to store credit, and I’ve already budgeted in (for the rest of my life) two new iPhone upgrades on every “tock” upgrade cycle.

Besides, the headline is a total lie. Our kids will get Melissa’s and my old iPhone 4S models next week, in kid-proof cases, to use as iPod Touches. (iPods Touch? Anyway.) They’ll be happy because they’re still using our discarded iPhone 3GS from 2009. We even still have a fully-functioning 2007 original iPhone. How many handheld electronics do you own that still work after six years? We’d have two of them, but one got left in a water spill and part of the screen fried. It didn’t seem worth repairing — but it’s in a drawer somewhere in case we ever change our minds.

So we could take the cash from Gazelle or the store credit from Apple, but then we’d lose the hours and hours of peace and quiet over the next two years, that we buy by handing down our old iPhones. It’s a fair trade.