The torrent of coincidental information pointing towards the impending launch of the iPhone 5 continues; AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile have all made moves suggesting a September 21st launch date, while Apple has quietly rolled out an intriguing change of its own. Without any fanfare whatsoever, the company recently added the iPhone 4S to the list of devices it accepts through its electronics recycling program.
The best part about Apple’s recycling program isn’t that it’s an easy, no-hassle way to ditch your device in an environmentally conscious manner, but that Apple will actually give you a little green back in exchange. You could receive up to $345 in Apple credit for a 64GB iPhone 4S in perfect condition, while a pristine 16GB model will net you $285. Various types of damage can lower those rates, however.
Apple’s recycling initative is a joint venture with PowerON, an electronics recycling firm that will resell your device if it’s in working order. The program isn’t limited to the iPhone 4S, either; the companies will send you a gift card in exchange for all types of iPhones, iPads, Macs and PCs — yes, even Windows and Linux PCs — or accept your iPods and smartphones for safe disposal.
The high prices Apple and PowerON are offering for the iPhone 4S make upgrading to the iPhone 5 a slightly more attractive proposition for iPhone owners who want the latest and greatest but can’t, for whatever reason, enter into a new cellular contract. Assuming the 16GB iPhone 5 costs $649 unsubsidized, as the 16GB iPhone 4S does, you’ll only have to come up with $364 if you upgrade after trading in your old 16GB handset.