Sunday, August 05, 2012

iPhone users begin sell-off of old models as rumored iPhone 5 launch date nears

We've already seen that rumors about release dates as well as iPhone 5 "details" are starting to resonate with consumers, as we enter the "quiet period" of iPhone sales as buyers hold off until the new device is launched. While this is a relatively quiet period for new iPhone sales, it's a hot period for iPhone re-sales, and resellers like eBay and Gazelle are starting to see interest heat up.

eBay's Instant Sale and Gazelle are ways consumers can quickly unload their older devices. In an email sent to media, eBay said that iPhone devices are among the hot items being "sold" to eBay (eBay then resells the used devices).

According to eBay, about 100,000 smartphone trade-in offers have been generated by customers using eBay Instant Sale since July 30. As of Thursday morning at 10 a.m. PT, the top iPhone models generating trade-in offers via eBay Instant Sale were:
  1. iPhone 4S 16GB (AT&T, up to $298.86; Verizon $288.68; Sprint $280.49 on Saturday morning)
  2. iPhone 4 8GB (AT&T, up to $168.78)
  3. iPhone 4S 32GB (AT&T up to $330.95)
  4. iPhone 3GS 8GB (up to $75.95)
  5. iPhone 4 16GB (AT&T, $186.06)
Meanwhile, at Gazelle, you can get as much as $277 for an AT&T 16GB iPhone 4S, also as of Saturday morning.

While we have never personally used eBay's Instant Sale, we have used Gazelle before, and the process is very simple and painless. We have spoken to others who have used eBay, and the process is just as easy.

All the activity is coming because of recent rumors about the iPhone 5 launch date. The latest rumors point to a September 12 launch event, and a release to retail on September 21, nine days later.

Over the last few months, the following iPhone 5 "details" have leaked (whether or not they are true will be seen on September 12, assuming that is correct):
  • LTE support
  • Elongated 4-inch screen with a new 16:9 aspect ratio
  • Smaller dock connector
  • Centered FaceTime camera
  • Headset jack moved to the bottom of the phone
  • Quad-core system-on-a-chip (SOC) based on the Samsung Exynos
  • In-cell touch panels which will lead to a slightly thinner screen
Fortunately for Apple, no iPhone prototypes have been lost this year, after SNAFUs in 2010 and 2011. They still have enough time to make a mistake, though, and many have said the solution to the "lost iPhone" issue is for employees to avoid bars.

In addition to the iPhone 5, Apple is expected to introduced a 7.85-inch iPad mini, a new iPod nano, and  a new version of the iPod touch at the September 12 event.

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