Whenever it's time to roll over a used iPhone, iPad or Mac, I usually head over to Gazelle. They're perhaps the largest "recycler" of used devices, and I've always found their cash offering on the last-generation devices to be pretty good. With Apple expected to announce new iPhones on September 10 with rumored availability on September 20, Gazelle is now offering a price-lock guarantee.
Anyone who locks in a price on selling an old iPhone to Gazelle between today and September 10 can wait until October 15 to send the old phone in to Gazelle. That hopefully gives buyers of the new iPhones some time to get the new model(s) before they have to send the devices off to their temporary homes at Gazelle. If you change your mind or if the wait for the new iPhone goes beyond October 15? Well, if you don't send in your old phone, you won't get the cash.
The chart at the top of this post shows why it's so important to commit to selling your old device before an Apple announcement actually occurs. With the iPhone 4S in 2012, the maximum resale price was available between 30 and 15 days before the announcement. Based on previous trends, Gazelle expects the same thing to happen with the iPhone 5 when new devices are announced.
In case you're wondering, Gazelle is offering US$325 today for a 32 GB iPhone 5... not that I was looking or anything...
Update: Reader Marcial wrote to TUAW asking "Why does Apple and Gazelle offer more for an iPhone 4S on AT&T? I thought the iPhone 4S was exactly the same phone for all the carriers." We reached out to Gazelle for clarification, and got this response:
The value varies because of the technologies in the phone (i.e. CDMA for Verizon and Sprint vs. GSM on T-Mobile and AT&T). A Verizon or Sprint phone is only able to roam on other CDMA networks, which don't exist (or are much more rare) globally. Basically, GSM devices have a much bigger global market compared to CDMA devices, which makes them easier to sell.