Apple's certified pre-owned programme isn't as bad as it sounds

Globally, a thriving refurbished industry exists. Even closer home in India, leading e-commerce website Amazon India does offer exchange programmes that let buyers trade their existing gadget for better value.


Over the past couple of months, there's been quite a bit written on Apple's plans to sell refurbished products in India. A lot of these pieces also accused Apple of treating India as a dumping ground. To be fair to Apple, that can't be far away from the truth. To begin with, there's a difference between a refurbished and a certified pre-owned iPhone.

Globally, a thriving refurbished industry exists. Even closer home in India, leading e-commerce website Amazon India does offer exchange programmes that let buyers trade their existing gadget for better value. Telecom operators in other markets do offer smartphones from varying manufacturers at attractive prices. Apple does that too. In the US, Macbook computers are sold as new as well as refurbished.

With the iPhone, however, Apple has created a new Certified Pre-owned Programme, for which it applied for permission in India. According to Apple's own report on the iPhone 6s for instance, 84 percent of greenhouse gas emissions occur during the manufacturing process. In comparison, only 10 percent of gas emissions happen due to consumer use.

Apples certified pre-owned programme isnt as bad as it sounds

Image: iPhone 6s environmental report by Apple

If you consider the total product lifecycle of the device, it then becomes evident that only way to compensate for the greenhouse gas emissions for each device is to have a longer lifecycle. An obvious way of doing that is to extend the usability of the device far beyond the usual contract tie in of 2 years.

The certified pre-owned programme enables Apple to do precisely this, while yet delivering on the rich experience associated with the company and its products. As part of its internal processes, every device that passes the certified pre-owned programme gets  a new IMEI, which means it has a new signature for identification on cellular networks. However, the programme also offers the same warranty length and commitment given for new iPhone devices that Apple sells.

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