updated 10/15/2012 6:22:54 PM ET 2012-10-15T22:22:54

Gazelle, a cash-for-electronics trade-in service, has seen an 80 percent spike in iPad trade-ins over the past month, which could mean anticipation is growing for Apple's 7-inch iPad Mini.

"The recent spike in iPad trades began on the date that rumors broke about the production of the  iPad Mini  and [trades] have remained relatively high [ever] since," Anthony Scarsella, Gazelle's chief gadget officer, told TechNewsDaily in an email. "While I can't say for certain that all people are trading in older iPads for the iPad Mini, I can make the educated guess that there is a strong connection."

But is this just a coincidence? Consumers could be raising cash for the still-new iPhone 5, which has broken all previous iPhone sales records. Demand is high for the phone and supply is scarce. Apple lists a three to four week wait for shipping on its website, while carriers call for shipping in about three weeks.

Nevertheless, for some reason the original 16GB iPad with WiFi is flooding the resale market, accounting for almost 50 percent of iPads traded in, Scarsella said. The average prices, meaning all  iPads  in all conditions, are $130 for the original iPad, $215 for an iPad 2 and $390 for the latest model. (At that price, a 2012 iPad trade-in could pay for a new iPhone 5 on contract, plus more than half of the rumored Mini.)

Apple is expected to issue invitations tomorrow to a launch event on Oct. 23, where the iPad Mini could be unveiled. Based on rumors, prices are anticipated to start at around $249 for a 16GB WiFi-only tablet — about $50 more than Google's Nexus 7 and Amazon's Kindle Fire, which also have 7-inch screens. And for just another $20, you could buy a 9-inch  Nook HD+  for $269. Scarsella is adamant about the Mini's prospects. 

"Even if the Mini has a higher price point, it will still take market share away from $199 tablets," Scarsella said.

There's a lot we don't know for sure, including what people plan to do with the cash from their iPads. Are they saving up for the iPad Mini, iPhone 5 or just trying to scrape together some pre-holiday cash?

© 2012 TechNewsDaily


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