Sep. 12, 2012 at 1:15 PM ET
You were happy enough with your iPhone 4S until today, when the new iPhone 5 was announced. What to do? Trade it in, of course, if you must have the new one.
Gazelle offers a 30-day price lock. So, if you get a quote today, that price is set for the next 30 days and will not drop, as it will with some other trade-in sites. The other plus is that it lets you hang onto your old phone until you get the new one.
A spokesman for Gazelle told NBC News Wednesday that in the last month, the site has seen a "more than 600 percent increase in iPhones traded in," compared to the month before last year's launch of the iPhone 4S.
"In the past few weeks, Gazelle has seen record volume, including one full week in which we were presenting one iPhone offer every second," the spokesman said. "Gazelle's volume last week was about five times the volume of the week prior to the iPhone announcement last year."
What happens to prices after the actual announcement of the new iPhone?
"It appears that we saw about a 25 percent decline in prices in the first week after the announcement and a steady decline over a 3- to 4-week period," he said.
Gazelle, like most other sites, will even take the earliest iPhone, which came out in 2007, in trade (Gazelle calls it the "iPhone Classic"). But don't get your hopes up or plan that trip to Vegas yet: an 8 GB original iPhone in "good" condition will only get you 9 bucks (as of today). If it's in "flawless" condition (hard to believe after more than five years), you'd get $19.
Some examples of NextWorth's pricing for the iPhone 4S, according to figures it gave NBC News Wednesday, as the iPhone 5 was being announced: $280 for AT&T's 16GB model; $350 for its 64 GB version; $245 for Verizon and Sprint's 16 GB version; $300 for their 64 GB iPhone 4S.
There's also eBay Instant Sale as a trade-in option. It's faster and easier than regular eBay auctions. You enter the info about your iPhone, get a quote, and if you like it, ship it to eBay — they pay for shipping — and you are paid via PayPal.
Todd Witkemper, an eBay spokesman, said there is a "limited time" offer, through Sept. 19, where the iPhone and certain other smartphones, will be offered what the site considers top dollar — "up to" $300 for the iPhone 4S, 16 GB AT&T version and "up to" $400 for the 64 GB model. As always, be sure to check around and compare prices.
Since Sept. 1, eBay Instant Sale has "generated more than 300,000 smartphone trade-in offers for customers looking to view the trade-in value of their devices," Witkemper said in a statement. "Of those trade-in offers, 34 percent were for Android devices, 30 percent were for iOS devices, 27 percent were for BlackBerry devices and 9 percent were for smartphones running other operating systems."
You can also use Apple's recycling program, which will give you an Apple-only gift card for your older iPhone. As AP's Barbara Ortutay noted, a 32 GB iPhone 4S "with some light scratches but in good working condition was recently estimated at $280. That's higher than Gazelle, but you'll have to spend the money at Apple."
And, if you're not looking to score a new iPhone, but want the ever-so-slightly-now old iPhone 4S, Apple is selling a 16 GB version of it for $99. A two-year-old iPhone 4 with 8 GB Apple says, can be had "for free with a two-year contract," depending on the carrier.