Retailers are now beginning to offer trade-in incentives for customers who are looking at upgrading to a new Apple smartphone, with Best Buy offering $200 off a new iPhone 5 with trade-in and Target speculated to offer a $100 incentive when you bring in an old phone and get a new iPhone 5. These trade-in incentives arrive as rumors of Apple’s new iPhone models are heating up. The iPhone-maker is widely believed to be introducing an iPhone 5S flagship on September 10 and a new budget iPhone 5C model on the same date, which means consumers should wait if they don’t already own an iPhone 5 before jumping on these promotions.
Promotions With Trade-Ins Right Now
Best Buy offers users a minimum $200 trade-in value on a working iPhone 4S model when you trade that model up to an iPhone 5. This would suggest that phones with little cosmetic wear and tear and models with higher capacities will fetch more money. A $100 Best Buy gift card could be had when you trade in an iPhone 4 model for that shiny iPhone 5.
Given that an iPhone 5 on contract runs $200 for the base model, if you get the minimum $200 gift card for your iPhone 4S trade-in and qualify for upgrade eligibility, you could leave Best Buy with a 16 GB iPhone 5 with no money leaving your wallet at the point of sale. Customers would have to pay for sales taxes, however.
Similarly, retailer Target is rumored to be starting a promotion that begins on Sunday, August 18 where customers could receive at least a $100 discount when they trade-in a used iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S and activate service on a new iPhone 5 according to a posting on Phone Arena.
Resist the Temptation
While these trade-in offers are tempting, especially for customers who want Apple’s current latest and greatest smartphone and may not want to pay much out of pocket, customers may want to wait until what Apple introduces in under a month. The danger with waiting, however, is that these trade-in deals may end, and future trade-in promotions may fetch less money than what you get today. Still, for current iPhone owners looking to upgrade, you can also sell your iPhone directly via Craigslist, eBay, or other channels as well as other trade-in venues.
The iPhone 5C could deliver similar specs to today’s iPhone 5 flagship, but may cost less. This means that even if you got less value for your iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S through trade-in, you may still break even or pay just a little bit more for the iPhone 5C. That model is expected to feature similar specs to the current iPhone 5, but would come with colorful plastic shells that may be appealing to customers who may want more than a black or white iPhone model.
Getting More Later
When you’re trading in today, you’re essentially walking home with what’s soon to be last year’s iPhone model. Though Apple products have historically held up in resale value over the years, getting last year’s iPhone model may mean that you won’t get as much for that model should you decide to either resell your iPhone a year or two from now or trade-in that model for an even newer one.
Essentially, to maximize the value of your iPhone–utility in the time that you use the iPhone to resale value–you’d want to get the iPhone at or near the introduction of the model. This way, you’ll be able to have as much time with the iPhone as you’d want and also get the best resale value later when you decide it’s time for a new iPhone or another smartphone make and model.
It Pays to Wait
If you wait til the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C come out, you may get more bang for the buck. The iPhone 5, it that model will continue to be offered when new models arrive, will cost less than what it does today. Historically, that value will be $100 less, or starting at just $99, with a two-year contract. This means that even if the promotional value for trade-in from $200 today drops to $100 when the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C arrives, you can still walk out the door with a free iPhone 5 if you waited and decide later if you want a 5, 5C, or 5S model.
Additionally, a low-cost iPhone 5C may still offer a lot of bang, featuring an 8-megapixel camera, 4-inch Retina Display, and a capable processor. That model is rumored to cost anywhere between $300 and $550 unlocked without a contract. Theoretically, if you sold your old iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S for $200–a direct resell not a trade-in–you could put that money towards the iPhone 5C and spend anywhere between $100 and $350 without even needing to sign a contract if today’s price speculations for the 5C model are accurate.