Apple has long offered a half-hearted trade-in program that gives lazy people a guaranteed, but below market rate amount for their old iPhone.
As spotted by 9to5Mac, Apple’s trade-in/recycling program now extends to the Apple Watch, but with a difference: in return for handing over your expensive, possibly gold-covered smartwatch that you bought from Apple for an extreme premium, the company will repay your loyalty in pixie dust.
OK, so to be fair, what Apple is really doing here is running a free recycling program for old electronics. Send in your old (by which I mean, two years old at most) Apple Watch, and Apple will dispose of it without hurting any baby seals.
Still, if you use the same program to recycle an old iPhone or MacBook, Apple will give you a gift card to cover some of the value for a device. It’s not close to market value, but it still implies that Apple thinks an old iPhone 4s is somehow more valuable than an old Apple Watch. That’s strange.
It’s also a stern middle finger to early adopters who jumped at Apple’s vision of wearable computing. When Apple launched the Watch with a premium design and pricetag to match, it was making a promise: buy this, and it won’t be like an iPhone. You won’t need to upgrade your watch every year; it’s an accessory that’s going to stick around.
To turn around and imply that the Watch has basically no value as a used item is a weird move from Apple. Sure, it’s probably driven by Apple’s agreement with recycling and reselling partners, but for a company where every move gets thought out first, it’s a little insultingly odd.