Now may be the time to trade in your old Apple device
Tim Cook discusses the iPhone 7 during an Apple media event in San Francisco on Sept. 7, 2016.
It’s “iPhoneapalooza” time again.
Apple unveiled details of the new iPhone 7 at an event on Wednesday. Once again, resale sites have reported a surge in trade-ins of old iPhones ahead of the announcement, but they expect trade-in prices to drop in the days after the big event. For now, though, consumers can still lock in high enough prices to break even — or earn a profit — by trading in their old gadget and upgrading to a new phone.
The iPhone 7, depending on the carrier, is expected to cost around $31 a month for 24 months for a 32-gigabyte version, experts say. With most offers, it’s possible to sell an old iPhone to a resale site or online retailer for more than the cost of the new phone, although you will need to sign a two-year contract. And note that those who bought an iPhone 6S or 6S Plus last year and still have time left on their current contract would likely have to pay an early termination fee. Some 55% of people that currently own an iPhone plan to purchase the iPhone 7 by the end of the year, according to a recent survey by resale site NextWorth, which obviously has a vested interest in consumers selling their old devices.
Apple said that the new iPhone 7 still comes in two screen sizes — and, therefore, compete with the larger Androids — will be water resistant (if you drop it in a pool or toilet bowl and quickly fish it out) and won’t have a headphone jack. It has a significantly improved camera. The new iPhone 7 also comes in new colors and will have a dual zoom camera lens. (Read MarketWatch’s live blog, detailing the event.)
The resale market became more lucrative for consumers with the added competition last year after Apple AAPL, -2.26% and Wal-Mart WMT, -2.13% entered. Resale site Glyde offers $409 for a 16-gigabye iPhone 6S (or $326 for a 6) and $447 for a larger 6S Plus (or $355 for a 6 Plus). Another such site NextWorth offers up to $350 for the 16-gigabye 6S in pristine condition (or $245 for a Plus), and up to $364 for the 6S Plus with the same memory (or $285 for a 6 Plus). And rival Gazelle offers up to $300 for the 16-gigabye iPhone 6S and up to $200 for the iPhone 6 (and a maximum of $325 for the 6S Plus).
For gift cards only, Amazon AMZN, -3.05% will give you around $350 for an unlocked 16-gigabyte iPhone 6S , although prices vary depending on condition and carrier, while Apple will give you up to $225 for an iPhone 6 and $250 for an iPhone 6 Plus (Apple doesn’t currently offer trade-ins for the 6S models online). At Walmart stores, the value for an iPhone 6S 16-gigabye is roughly $275 to $300, depending on the carrier; for the 6S Plus, a 16-gigabye has a trade-in value of $325 to $350.
“We expect around a 15% decline in pricing for old iPhone models around the expected September launch,” says Glyde spokesman Matthew Reardon. “If people have a replacement phone they can use between now and the launch, it’s a great time to sell.”
But for consumers who have second thoughts about upgrading, some resale sites allow you to hang on to your phone after agreeing to a trade-in deal. NextWorth and Gazelle give customers a 30-day grace period between signing a contract and handing over their phone. (Glyde has no grace period as it’s a peer-to-peer seller.)
As Apple’s new-device releases become more frequent, the company must work harder to convince people to upgrade each year, says Brian Colello, technology analyst at research firm Morningstar. While the smartphone market is getting saturated in the U.S., the iPhone 7 will likely have a big impact, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook is hoping that the upgrades and fanfare surrounding the iPhone 7 upgrade will put pressure on Samsung.
Thus far, resale sites have been reporting a surge of trade-ins for all of the most recent models. Resale site Decluttr.com says there has been 73% increase in sales in the past month alone, and is predicting an influx of iPhone 6 and 6s models following Apple’s press conference on Wednesday.