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Apple's iPhone trade-in program goes live

Apple has officially launched its iPhone trade-in program we reported on earlier this week. Users can take their iPhone's to any Apple Store in the US and exchange their old device for credit towards a new model. The program has been active in a small number of test stores over the past few weeks, but this is the first time it has been nationally available.

The phones have to be in good working order, meaning water damage is a deal-breaker and a cracked screen will lower the amount you're given. Depending on the condition of your device and which era it's from, you could receive up to US$250 in trade-in credit towards a new phone, but just a new phone.

Unfortunately one of the stipulations of the trade-in program is it can only be used towards the purchase of a new iPhone, complete with a new contract. So if you want to trade in that old 3G for credit towards a new AirPort, you are out of luck.

Apple is launching this program in advance of their impending new product announcements on September 10, where the next generation of iPhones are rumored to debut. TechCrunch was given the following statement regarding today's program launch:

iPhones hold great value. So, Apple Retail Stores are launching a new program to assist customers who wish to bring in their previous-generation iPhone for reuse or recycling. In addition to helping support the environment, customers will be able to receive a credit for their returned phone that they can use toward the purchase of a new iPhone.

However, before you run out to your nearest Apple store, you may want to shop around. As of right now, trade-in giant Gazelle is offering significantly more cash for an iPhone 5 16GB than the Apple Store. However, you wont get help transferring your information to your new phone if you trade-in at Gazelle. These are all important options to consider before making your final decision.

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