I just saw an comercial for used Apple products retailer Gazell.com during the Alabama-Arkansas football game. You’re probably thinking so what? Two things about this strike me as interesting:
- The entire comercial was about trading in your old iPhone for cash.
- This was broadcasted on CBS during a high profile college football game.
Apparently the iPhone has reached some critical mass and as such has spawned a trade-in industry robust enough for an outfit like Gazell to cough up the presumably significant amount of cash required for a nationally televised college football game comercial. As a long time Apple aficionado (call me a fan boy if you like) I’ve always known that my used Apple gear retains value and when I go to sell it I know I’m going to get a good price for it. Significantly better than most other electronics.
Maybe they can only justify the cost of the comercial post iPhone 5 announcement since this is prime trade-in time and we won’t see that comercial again in that type of high profile broadcast. Or maybe the iPhone is so ubiquitous and the user base so large that the trade-in market is profitable enough to spend that kind of money on advertising all the time. To date, Apple has sold somewhere in the range of 250 million iPhones. 
Think about that for a minute: the market for used iPhones is big enough and profitable enough for Gazell to run a nationally broadcasted comercial in a prime advertising spot on a major network. This isn’t a “we buy used electronics and cell phones” commercial. I’ve never seen a Droid or Samsung trade-in comercial. It’s a “we buy one brand of cell phones” comercial.
I’d say the iPhone has reached critical mass.