Target (TGT - Get Report) is running a deal this week through Saturday, May 10, offering customers who trade in a working smartphone up to $300 toward the purchase of a new iPhone 5s or 5c. And here's the kicker that Target is throwing in - customers are not required to sign up for a two-year contract in order to get the deal.
What does that mean? It means that you can purchase an unactivated device (Target sells the 5s for $699.99 and the 5c for $599.99) and use it with any carrier you please. Target of course would like you to activate the phone at a Target Mobile location (located inside stores). But it's not required. That means you can take the phone to T-Mobile (TMUS) and get one of its "uncarrier" plans.
Of course the value of the phone differs based on the model and condition, but I'm inclined to think that the only way Target is giving customers the full $300 is if their old 4 or 4s is "new," as in still-in-the-box new. Basically, don't expect to get anywhere near $300 for your phone. One tiny scratch on the phone (let alone normal wear and tear) devalues the phone significantly.
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If you want to get on a contract, Target is selling the iPhone 5c 16 GB for just $29.99 (regularly $99.99) with a qualifying two-year plan from Verizon (VZ), AT&T (T)or Sprint (S). Also iPhone 5s 16 GB devices are going for $119.99 (regularly $199.99) plus a $20 Target gift card when customers sign up for a two-year contract.
Separately, 9to5Mac reported on Monday that Apple is looking to boost iPhone sales by emailing upgrade-eligible iPhone users with older models to get to a store to upgrade to a 5s or 5c. Apple will begin emailing customers on May 8. The event will be held in stores in multiple states. Apple is preparing for the influx of customers to its stores as if were on par with traffic levels when new products debut, the article says.
--Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.