Apple bribes Android users to iPhone with gift cards

Apple stores soon will begin offering gift cards to customers in exchange for used smartphones, including those running Google’s popular Android operating system. After losing some ground, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have helped Apple reassert its dominance in the smartphone market. 

Eric Risberg/AP/File
Tim Cook talks about the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus during an Apple event in San Francisco.

If you’re considering switching from Android to an iPhone, Apple may soon be giving you an extra reason to do so.

According to Apple blog 9to5 Mac, Apple retail stores soon will begin offering gift cards to customers in exchange for used smartphones of any variety, including those running Google’s popular Android operating system.

The trade-in program would be similar to the Apple Reuse and Recycling program launched in 2013. That program lets current iPhone owners trade in an older model for a newer one at a discount.

The new program will begin “in the coming weeks,” 9to5 Mac reported, citing unnamed sources. Apple store employees would be able to transfer a customer’s contact list from a non-Apple phone to an iPhone, but customers would be responsible for shipping over any other data on their own.

The move would come at a time when Apple has begun reasserting its dominance in the smartphone market. After losing some ground, primarily to Samsung and its Galaxy S and Galaxy Note phones, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, with their bigger display screens, have put Apple comfortably back on top once again.

In the first quarter after they were released in September, Apple sold a whopping 74.5 million iPhones.

The company has been aggressively courting owners of other smartphones, particularly Android users, in recent months.

In its operating-system upgrade that coincided with the release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus,Apple posted a guide on its website with detailed instructions on how to transfer data from an Android phone to a new iPhone.

The next generation of iPhones is expected to arrive this fall. Early reports about what could be called the iPhone 7 suggest it could be available in new colors, including pink, and would include the Force Touch feature, with which a touchscreen can read how hard the users presses it and respond accordingly.

Doug Gross is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow him on Twitter@doug_gross and on Google+.

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