updated 10:00 am EDT, Wed August 29, 2012
Up to $345 possible, comes in form of an Apple gift card
Apple has recently added the iPhone 4S to its list of items it will accept (and pay) for reuse and recycling, sure to fuel further speculation that a next-generation iPhone is on the way soon. The service, which in the US is partnered with PowerOn, pays up to $345 for a good-condition, working 64GB iPhone 4S model. Users receive payment in the form of an Apple gift card, and Apple will either recondition the item for resale as used or refurbished, or break it down for parts.
The addition of the iPhone 4S to the list (which also includes Macs, PCs and iPads along with other models of iPhone) may signal an opportunity for owners to trade up to the forthcoming iPhone, which is expected to be announced in mid-September and ship in late September. Third-party trading companies have also posted their prices for good-condition used iPhone models, with Amazon offering the best prices (though the Amazon gift card "payment" curiously can't be used on its Wireless mobile phone section).
With Apple's program, iPhone prices for the 4S range from $285 to $345 depending on storage, with no change in prices based on color. Interestingly, owners of the original iPhone (any capacity) are told that their device has a "zero-dollar value" though it will still be accepted for recycling.
When filling out the estimate form, owners are asked about scratches, water damage and working status. If the item is sent in and judged to be in worse shape than the owner originally said, the reward amount is reduced -- an incentive to be accurate in describing the iPhone's condition. Other prices for different items include $288 for a 2009-era MacBook Pro in excellent condition (power cord and original disks included), $425 for a 64GB Wi-Fi + cellular 2012 iPad, and $443.70 for a 2009-era Mac Pro with the "Nahalem" 2.93GHz quad-core processor.
In all cases, owners must certify that they have removed their content or all content from the machine and have supplied the power cord (and in the case of PCs or Macs, the original operating system disks) to get the top level of reward. Apple will accept non-Apple hardware in the desktop and notebook categories, but only accepts Apple products for phones and tablets.