Feb. 28, 2012 at 12:32 PM ET
When's the best time to trade in your iPad 2? Yesterday. But since that's gone, the next best answer is: As soon as possible.
You'll get top dollar for the iPad 2 if you trade it in or sell it within the next week. Once the iPad 3, as it's unofficially called for now, is announced by Apple March 7, prices on used iPads could drop by as much as 25 percent or more from what they are at this moment (er, make that "this second"-- that's how volatile the trade-in market can be).
What is top dollar? For a 16 GB, Wi-Fi only iPad 2, now selling for $499 by Apple -- which will likely cut that price when the new iPad is unveiled -- here's a snapshot look at pricing for that same model from two top trade-in websites, Gazelle and NextWorth (and again, the pricing may change even within hours of this story being posted):
The same iPad, but with both Wi-Fi and 3G, will net you $338.99 ("like new/flawless") from NextWorth, or $308.18 ("good" condition).
Gazelle pays slightly more for iPads that use AT&T's GSM technology (which is more widespread around the world) than Verizon's CDMA network (only used here in the U.S.).
So, if you have an AT&T 3G iPad 2 you're looking at a trade-in price of $310 if it's in "flawless" condition, and $290 if it's in "good" condition. If you've got a Verizon 3G iPad, you'll fetch about $20 less.
There are other places to trade your iPad, including CExchange, and via major retailers like Amazon, Best Buy and Radio Shack.
"The best time to trade in an iPad 2 and get the most value is now," a spokesperson for NextWorth told msnbc.com. The trade-in website has seen an 814 percent increase in iPad 2s being sold by their owners "from January to February already."
Gazelle, which will honor your trade-in price for 30 days, said it, too, has seen a huge jump in trade-ins in the past few weeks, even before Tuesday's news of the iPad 3 announcement.
"On Feb. 9 (when there were iPad 3 rumors), Gazelle saw a 500 percent increase in trades, compared to the previous day," Anthony Scarsella, Gazelle's chief gadget officer, told msnbc.com. "iPads alone on that day were 8 percent of our total trade-in volume. Heading into the next six days, Gazelle then witnessed a 400 percent increase in iPads as the March 7 release date rumors landed."
Interestingly, "with this uptick we also saw a 50 percent increase in Android tablets which included a 25 percent increase in Amazon Kindle Fire tablets," Scarsella said.
"With the possibility of an iPad 2 price cut, and or an iPad 8-inch model, our iPad prices are at their highest point. They should stay steady heading into the launch but will quickly start to downward spiral soon after the (March 7) announcement."