Apple's iPhone trade-in plan could start Friday

Your iPhone 5 could be traded in for instant credit towards a new device.

You may soon be able to walk into an Apple store with an old iPhone and get instant credit towards a new one as soon as Friday, if the latest rumors are correct.

Apple-tracking websites 9to5Mac and MacRumors report that the new trade-in program is due to launch before September, when new iPhones are expected to be announced.

Reportedly called the "iPhone Reuse and Recycle Program," the trade-in system would differ from those at Best Buy or at online sites in that selling for cash wouldn't be an option. Instead, the trade-in value could be used only to buy a new iPhone with a wireless carrier contract.

Apple, meanwhile, would fix up your old iPhone and prepare it for refurbished sale here, either in the U.S. or in emerging markets abroad — the rumors don't agree here. At any rate, Apple would begin selling refurbished iPhones in addition to iPads, laptops, and MP3 players. NBC News contacted Apple for more information. We will update the article if we receive a response.

How much value will you get for your iPhone from Apple? A follow-up at 9to5Mac suggests that a 16GB iPhone 5 would be worth between $250 and $280, well below what is offered by an online trade-in service like Gazelle ($315) or BuybackBoss ($375). That pricing is still unconfirmed, however, and the amount paid will likely change with market conditions like demand and promotions.

If Apple's trade-in launch is Friday, that would give potential buyers of the next iPhones (expected to be announced at a Sept. 10 event) plenty of time to think about it and get their old iPhone cleaned, backed up and ready for sale.

Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is