WASHINGTON — Apple is launching its own trade-in program for iPhones, giving consumers another option when it comes to disposing gadgets.
Now, users will able to trade in their current smartphones at Apple stores for a credit toward a newer model. Apple spokeswoman Amy Bessette confirmed that the company is rolling out its program Friday.
In a statement, she said: ‘‘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.’’
Previous recycling programs had let users turn in iPhones and older gadgets for a gift card at Apple’s stores, but this is the first time Apple has launched a credit program specifically for the iPhone.
The program’s launch comes ahead of what analysts expect will be the September launch of at least one new iPhone model.
In the company’s July earnings call, chief executive Tim Cook had said that he was attracted by the environmental benefits this kind of program could have, but the program also carries a potential upside for the company by encouraging iPhone sales in its own stores rather than through mobile carriers.
Those interested in bringing in their older iPhones for credit toward a newer model must walk out of the store with a new contract, thus making the program a little less flexible than the previous one.
With its new program, Apple steps into a crowded field of competing programs offered by companies such as Best Buy, GameStop, Amazon, and others, all of which accept older iPhones and other smartphones for cash — something that Apple’s new program won’t do.
Reselling has become big business for consumers looking to defray the cost of a newer smartphone. The trade-in website Gazelle, for example, reported that it has made more than 1.6 million offers for used iPhones in August alone.