Is Apple’s Mac trade-in offer broken? Or is it a rip-off?

Or maybe it’s just market research to find out what Intel machines their new M1 customers were using.

Start rant.

Before I ordered my new M1 MacBook Air (scheduled to arrive early December) I clicked the trade-in button.

When I entered the serial number of my wife’s MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2018, 1.6 GHz 500 GB Flash) and answered all their questions (no dents, no cracks, no swelling, runs like a charm) the AI listened politely and offered to recycle it for free.

OK. It’s a two-year old computer. But when I checked with Gazelle they offered me $328.

Made me wonder.

So then I entered the serial number of my current MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2020, 1.1 GHz 500 GB Flash) and answered all their questions. Again the AI listened politely and offered to recycle it for free.

Hey! That’s an eight-month old computer, still under extended warranty with AppleCare+. When I put it on Craigslist for $600 I got 4 offers before the sun went down.

I went ahead and bought the M1. The reviews were too good.

But I’m not giving any of my old Macs to Apple anymore. My wife will probably inherit the 2020 computer and Gazelle (or a worthy relative) will get the 2018.

End rant.

I haven’t seen a whisper on social media about this weird Mac trade-in business. Anybody else?

11 Comments

  1. Jerry Doyle said:
    Apparently I was under the erroneous impression that similar to the iPhone and Apple Watch, that Apple now offered a trade-in price on older previous equipment. I have an iMac Retina 5K 27″ late 2015 with 3.2 GHz Quad Core Intel Core i5 with 16 GB 1867 MHz DDR3, Graphics AMD Radeon R9 M380 2GB ready to exchange for a new iMac when Apple refreshes the current design styling, doing away with existing thick bezels and that humongous hanging chin. I’m told the new design iMacs are forthcoming. Not that I expect much trade-in on my current machine, but enough as an inducement for me to box sweet Caroline up and transport her to the local UPS shipping outlet. Now, I just may gift her to someone locally or to a local nonprofit. Am I wrong that Apple doesn’t offer trade-in value for old Macs?

    2
    November 21, 2020
  2. Kathy Corby said:
    FWIW I have used Gazelle and they have been reliable and trouble free. They send the box, give you clear instructions on how to remove data from your device, and send the check by return mail.

    1
    November 21, 2020
  3. Ken Cheng said:
    Maybe it’s a bit like Tesla trade-in offers. There are lots of stories in Tesla forums about low trade-in offers, compared to Carvana, etc.

    Companies like Apple and Tesla really aren’t in the business of reselling, as they usually pass-thru the product to a 3rd-party. And, given Apple’s luck with 3rd-party refurbishment and recycling, maybe it’s no wonder they’re not so eager to get your used iPhone or Mac, back. So while they offer trade-in programs, for convenience, and that customers expect them to have trade-in programs; they might not really want you to take advantage of their trade-in programs so they offer less than market value.

    3
    November 21, 2020
  4. Aaron Belich said:
    Bigger picture thinking… does Apple want to keep around Intel Macs longer by continuing to offer refurbs on them in the coming months, and years?

    That may be an interesting inventory channel to keep tabs on.

    0
    November 21, 2020
  5. Robert Paul Leitao said:
    @PED Looking at the specs, there appears to be a difference in the processors between your MacBook Air and your wife’s MacBook Air. You didn’t post the processor class.

    FWIW, prior to replacing my 7 year-old pre-Retina 27” iMac last May, Apple was offering a $350 trade-in value. Because I chose a refurbished model to save several hundred dollars on an i9-based machine, a trade-in wasn’t available. The old iMac went to my daughter so that she could use the big display for work-from-home.

    I view Apple’s trade-in offers as a convenience. For those of us who eschew Craigslist, there’s a convenience value to Apple’s trade-in offers because the swap is easy and uncomplicated.

    0
    November 21, 2020
  6. Alan Trerise said:
    I wonder how long Apple will need to support Intel with MacOS upgrades. I’m sure they have models based on high quality data which give them an accurate prediction. Until then they need to ensure the OS serves the least common denominator. They must be eager to turn over the Intel base as quickly as possible.

    0
    November 21, 2020
    • Gregg Thurman said:
      wonder how long Apple will need to support Intel with MacOS upgrades.

      California law: 5 years. Because of that Apple supports its products for a minimum of 5 years.

      0
      November 21, 2020
  7. Michael Stur said:
    @PED: Just had a similar experience: I wanted to trade in my Macbook Pro 13″ 2017, with a i7 CPU at 2.5 GHz, 16 GB RAM and 1 TB SSD, the battery recently replaced by AppleCare. The Apple Store offered only € 410, but a German “sellyourmac” site offered € 1.197 !
    I mailed in the MBP, and a week later, voila, the store send me the message that after having successfully checked the Macbook I will now get the whole amount of 1.197 transferred to my bank account ! And now I ordered the M1 Macbook Air from Apple…

    3
    November 21, 2020
    • Gregg Thurman said:
      Congrats. Let us know your performance impression of the M1 MacBook Air vs your Pro.

      0
      November 21, 2020
  8. Steven Noyes said:
    I got $65 for my stainless series 2 watch. I thought that was a great deal.

    0
    November 23, 2020

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