For the first time in Apple's history, the tech giant has launched a trade-in program for old iPhones in order to boost sales for its new versions. Although offering trade-in deals for phones is great, Apple is going up against well-established companies such as Gazelle.

The Apple iPhone trade-in program is only available to U.S. customers and the value of an old device must be put toward the purchase of a new iPhone. Although the program was confirmed by Apple on Friday, details regarding how much it will pay for old phones have yet to be revealed.

Lots of Competition

Not only are there Web sites that offer trade-in deals for various electronic devices, but retail stores including Best Buy, Target and RadioShack also offer buybacks. Between the numerous companies that already offer these programs and reports suggesting that Apple will not pay as much as its competitors, the company may have a hard time finding people who are interested.

Rumors have circulated that Apple would be offering around $125 for an iPhone 4/4S as well as $250 for the iPhone 5. Those prices are good, but some online buyback programs offer more. Pricing for older iPhones on Craigslist or eBay has run as high as $400.

However, the convenience that comes with using Apple for the buyback program as well as purchasing a new device may be enough to attract customers. On Friday, Apple said in a statement that "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," Apple said. "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."

How It Works

The process itself is expected to be very straightforward. Apple will offer the trade-in program at its stores, meaning that once the expected iPhone 5S launches, a customer Relevant Products/Services can walk in with his or her old device, and walk out with a new and improved one at a savings.

The program does have limits, as it must still follow the rules of carrier contracts. To take advantage of the buyback credit, a customer will have to be eligible for an upgrade through the carrier. If not, early-upgrade charges may apply, depending on the carrier.

Quotes for trade-in value will be provided via BrightStar which means that real-time Relevant Products/Services evaluations of the iPhone's worth will be offered. Once a quote is provided, an owner can either take it or leave it. Even with a higher trade-in price available elsewhere, the convenience factor alone is likely to attract many takers.