iPhone trade-in flurry begins

After-market outlets are seeing an uptick in resales in anticipation of Apple's next-generation release.

Do you have an old iPhone and want to get some cash for it to put toward the upcoming new one? You're not alone. Owners of older iPhones are now rushing to sell their devices in anticipation of the rumored September 12 launch date of the iPhone 5. They're cashing in up to $300 for an iPhone 4S, in many cases more than what they initially paid for the phone.

Since several respectable publications began to report September 12 as the day Apple would announce a new and improved iPhone, eBay said users submitted more than 100,000 smartphones on the Instant Sale program -- mainly iPhones -- a 70 percent increase on before the rumor hit.

How much you would get for your old iPhone varies. You can receive for a 16GB iPhone 4S almost $300 on eBay's Instant Sale site, $280 on Gazelle, or $260 on NextWorth. A 16GB iPhone 4 goes for $170 on Instant Sale, about the same on NextWorth, or around $150 on Gazelle. Other programs, such as BuyBackWorld, BuyMyTronics and Radioshack, can get you up to $200 for a 16GB iPhone 4. An iPhone 3Gs would get you around $100 on either sites.

Trading in your older smartphone sooner rather than after a new iPhone is launched might draw a better price, but leaves you without an iPhone until the next model arrives (if it ships at the expected time). As the market gets flooded with used iPhones just before a new model is anticipated, after-market prices drop too, so you could get up to $100 less for an iPhone 4S the day the new phone is announced than you would do now.

But if you want to wait to see what the new iPhone might bring, and whether it's something you'd want to upgrade to -- especially if you are near the end of your contract -- then you could check with your carrier to determine if it's cheaper to pay a small cancellation fee and start a new contract with a new device.

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Daniel Ionescu

PC World (US online)
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