Report: Apple may offer incentives to draw iPhones buyers into Apple stores

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) executives are not happy about the fact that 80 percent of iPhones are sold outside of Apple stores, and the company is looking to make sweeping changes in how iPhones are sold and marketed in order to change that dynamic and fight competition from Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system.

According to 9to5Mac, Apple CEO Tim Cook talked to leaders from Apple's retail stores at a summit held in San Francisco last week. Specifically, he said that the iPhone is Apple's central "gateway product" to other devices like iPads and Macs so it's critical that users buy the phone in one of Apple's retail outlets in order to be exposed to other Apple products. He also noted that 50 percent of all iPhones in need of service get repaired or replaced at Apple stores.

Citing people familiar with the matter, 9to5Mac said that Cook hinted that Apple is developing new incentives for customers to buy iPhones in Apple stores. These new incentives could be similar to Apple's Back to School promotion, which offers a $50 gift card to students purchasing an iPhone.

Another example could be a trade-in program, which sources said could appear in Apple stores in the next few months. This program would encourage consumers to upgrade a damaged older iPhone with a new iPhone 5.

Indeed, Apple reportedly is partnering with wireless device distributor Brightstar to establish an in-store iPhone trade-in program to let customers turn in older models and upgrade to the newer iPhone 5.

These incentives are expected to be revealed at Apple's quarterly meeting for retail stores on July 28th.

For more:
- see this 9toMac article

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