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Apple plotting trade-in scheme to boost iPhone 5 sales?

Apple may soon allow iPhone users to part-exchange their older models for the latest version of the handset, according to reports on Thursday.

Bloomberg brings word of a possible trade-in scheme that would see users give iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S models back to the company and get a shiny new iPhone 5 for a reduced price.

The report claims the benefits would be two-fold for Apple:

Firstly it would boost iPhone 5 sales ahead of an expected iPhone 5S/6 launch later this year.

Secondly, it would help the Cupertino-based tech giant meet the growing demand for refurbished iPhone models in emerging markets.

Bloomberg reckons Apple’s sudden interest in the refurbished iPhone market is a reaction to slowing growth and hugely increased competition from Samsung.

It has been selling refurbished Macs, iPods and iPads for sometime now, but this would be the first time it has offered second-hand iPhones.

The report also claims Apple has aligned itself with the Brightstar Corp, which already handles iPhone trade-ins for US-based networks AT&T and T-Mobile.

If true, it would raise questions as to whether Apple would offer such a deal to UK customers who have to pay less cash up-front to grab a new iPhone contract.

In the US, customers have to drop at least $200 (around £125), depending on which contract they take out, in order to snag an iPhone.

If the scheme comes to pass, Brits would probably still be better off selling their old iPhones independently. Nevertheless, it would be an interesting development.