If you were hoping to get top dollar for your old iPhone before upgrading to the new 4S or perhaps one of the first Android Ice Cream Sandwich phones, it's now safe to say you've missed the boat.
It's not exactly a surprise, but still interesting to see just how quickly the trade-in and resale values of even pristine iPhone 4 models has fallen in just a few weeks. Right after the iPhone 4S was unveiled, I reported on a special offer from eBay's Instant Sale site offering $357 for a 32 GB iPhone 4 in excellent condition. The offer price for a unit fitting the same description has since dropped by over a hundred bucks.
On the regular eBay auction site, an iPhone 4 might have fetched over $400 that same week--more if it were unlocked. Now a used iPhone 4 isn't getting much more than $275 tops.
Trade-in site NextWorth is trying to do its part to prop up the old-iPhone market a bit--it's offering a guaranteed $200 for any iPhone 4 in at least "good condition." That's down from the $250 it was offering briefly before the iPhone 4S hit stores, but it comes with a 21-day window to send in the used phone after accepting an offer. That's likely enough time to contend with the two-week turnaround time to receive an iPhone 4S, and the $200 is even enough to pay for the upgrade.
"We are seeing trade-in values decline as expected, but with the positive buzz around the iPhone 4S launch we wanted to give people a final chance to upgrade for free," said Jeff Trachsel, chief marketing officer at NextWorth.
And unlike most consumer electronics, the new iPhone could even be an investment. Perhaps it will fetch $400 the week before we see the iPhone 5S...