As the iPhone 5 release nears, the offers will continue to drop. Firms like Gazelle, Nextworth, and Glyde have been sending emails and pushing customers to trade-in their devices, with some even guaranteeing the value of a "quote" but giving customers extra time to hold onto their devices until the new iPhone is released and in their hot little hands.
The best chance to lock in your best value for an iPhone trade-in has come and gone. As an example, on Aug. 20, when Gazelle first began approaching past customers, a flawless 16GB AT&T iPhone 4S would have fetched $290. As of early Wednesday morning, that same phone only sees an offer of $277. That's not much of a drop, but the quote will continue to go lower.
Instant Sale was offering $300 for the same iPhone that Gazelle was only quoting $277 for.
Meanwhile, NextWorth was quoting $278 for the same phone. Meanwhile, Glyde would list the phone for you for $325.58, or you could take $296 straight from the site.
According to "chief gadget officer" Anthony Scarsella, Gazelle has made around 1.2 million iPhone offers in the past 30 days, which is about five times the volume compared to the same month last year (the iPhone 4S was released in mid-October so the "spike window" was later in the year).
Scarsella said, "The price all depends on volume, so it will start declining very rapidly after [the iPhone 5 announcement]. In the past, we've seen drops within an hour or so."
NextWorth expects a more gradual decline on its quotes. Chief marketing officer Jeff Trachsel, said "It likely won't be a one-time drop on a specific day, but rather an extended decline over time."
However, he added that if the iPhone 5 is significantly redesigned, the old models' value could fall a faster.