I’ve had an iOS device from the moment they were introduced. I picked up my first iPhone a couple months after they were released, and brought home the first gen iPad the day they hit our local Apple Store. Normally being an early adopter has its growing pains, but unlike many other purchases I haven’t regretted getting into the game before most. The iPhone became the cornerstone of my work and personal communication long before iOS was a thing, and my various iPads have always been more than a media consumption device; the iPad 2 was my sole non-desktop productivity tool for two years at work.
As an admitted gadget addict, I have followed the same path I had when I was still building home brewed PCs; as soon as something new and shiny caught my eye I’d sell my current (and still very functional) rig to offset the cost of upgrading. The plan has served me well; with the exception of my iPhone 4 (given to a family member) selling my previous handset has covered the price of buying the new one.
At first selling a used device was primarily done via word of mouth; I’ve got a reputation at work for keeping my devices in top condition and had been able to find a buyer fairly easily. The iPhones were a different matter- most coworkers had already purchased one. I tried eBay for my first iPhone, but the experience was less than stellar. The buyer insisted that the device arrived damaged, and wanted to be compensated. This was complicated by the fact that I had shipped it to the other side of the country and wasn’t able to verify the alleged damage (which wasn’t cosmetic anyway according to the buyer; he just insisted it wouldn’t boot). Fortunately his local Apple Store was able to get it functioning; I suspect he had attempted to Jailbreak it but failed and “bricked” the iPhone, but it’s just an educated guess.
Due to that experience I decided to try one of the official trade-in channels for my next upgrade: Gazelle. The process was very simple; pick your device and tell them the condition, and they make you an offer (and will even provide you packaging to ship your device). After a short period of evaluation if it matches your description they forward you the amount they offered; if the device is evaluated to be other than you described they will make a lower offer that you may either accept or reject (and have your handset mailed back to you). The only downside to this process is that you’ll typically get significantly less money than if you sold it to a third party directly.
Many companies have jumped into the iOS trade-in game; Amazon accepts most devices, Gamestop offers both store credit and cash, Wal Mart will give you a gift card for the value of your phone, and of course Apple will accept your device for store credit (or recycling if it isn’t functioning). While considerably less hassle than direct sale, be sure to do some comparison to get the best offer.
As for me, the timing can be an issue as well. Once the upgraded models are released, many others will employ the same tactic that I have- flooding the market with trade ins, thereby deflating the value. Should you wait and trade one device for another, or sell early to get more value but do without until you can get your hands on the latest and greatest? The question is purely subjective and the answer will differ from person to person.
Apple has confirmed their next event October 22nd, and new iPads are certainly to be one of many product announcements (fingers crossed for a retina-equipped iPad Mini). I’ve accepted the burden of my First World Angst and decided to get maximum value instead of maximum utility (in the economics sense of the term) and sell early. If you’re looking to upgrade, due diligence is needed. Decide on the best route for you (I never considered Craigslist; while popular I just didn’t feel comfortable with the inability to screen buyers and the lack of support that third party retailers offer) and get the most for your well-loved device!
- Analyst: IPhone, iPad Sales Trends Favor Apple (hispanicbusiness.com)
- Why the iPad Is More Important Than the iPhone (businessweek.com)
- Apple confirms October 22 event: iPad 5, iPad mini and more (mobot.net)
- Will Apple unveil an iPad Mini with Retina display? Analysts aren’t so sure (business.financialpost.com)