The usual frenzy broke loose as soon as Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs announced the iPad 2 — and on March 11, the first day it went on sale, lines at Apple stores were epic as usual.
If you’re one of the 15 million people who bought an iPad last year — and are among the early adopters who patiently waited for hours yesterday to get the new one — you may be wondering how to swap your old tablet out for the shiny new iPad 2 without taking a huge loss. Here are some tips for finding good trade-in deals:
Compare Buyback Sites
Depending on the condition of your iPad, various websites offer different buyback values. With a few minutes of research, you could squeeze an extra $50 or more out of your old gear, so our first tip is to make sure to compare options.
NextWorth.com, a consumer electronics upgrade and trade-in company, is one of several sites offering cash for first generation iPads with light wear, and competitive deals for heavier wear. At NextWorth.com, you can see exactly what cash amount you’re going to get for your iPad, and what percentage of the original retail value. NextWorth’s trade-in prices as of 2/23/11 for light wear were:
iPad 16GB Wifi: $255
iPad 32GB Wifi: $285
iPad 64GB Wifi: $310
iPad 16GB Wifi + 3G: $298
iPad 32GB Wifi + 3G: $350
iPad 64GB Wifi + 3G: $390
NextWorth partners with Target, so you can walk in to your local Target store and receive cash back for your first generation iPad rather than through the website. If you aren’t looking to upgrade to the iPad 2 with the cash you get back, you can instead receive a prepaid Target gift card for in-store credit.
If your iPad is in near-perfect condition, you can get $300 for a 16GB Wifi model at Gazelle.com. For slight wear and tear, such as light scratches, however, NextWorth’s $255 trade-in beats Gazelle’s cash offer of $240.
Don’t write off eBay or Amazon
Ebay, the world’s most popular online auction website, is definitely a viable option for selling your iPad and getting an aggressive deal. Thousands have already put their first generation iPads up for bid, and even with the new overload of inventory, some are selling for as high as 80% of their original price. Your success will depend both on the condition of your iPad and how lucky you are with bidders. The outcome of an auction is hard to judge, so Ebay lets you set a minimum amount you will accept.
If you haven’t bought or sold through the e-commerce company Amazon, here’s a little tid-bit on why the site is so popular: Amazon carries its own inventory, but also offers new, used and refurbished products sold through private owners. Buyers can look up all the details they need on the product’s capabilities and condition, and then buy the item through private sellers at lower-than-retail prices. You can piggyback off of Amazon’s reputation and sell your iPad by undercutting Amazon’s price when you list your iPad there.
If you’re thinking about selling your iPad at either eBay or Amazon, it helps to have positive reviews to gain customer credibility and therefore get the most cash for your used gadget. But even if you’re new to the sites, you can still get great deals.
Consider selling locally
The flood of iPad supply in online secondary markets has pushed resale prices down already, even just a day after the iPad 2 announcement. If you wait too long to sell, you may not get the deal you want, due to continued price drops. However, many consumers prefer to buy used electronics locally, where they can test them out for themselves before handing over cash. An excellent alternative to selling your iPad on eBay, Amazon, NextWorth, or other sites is to list it on Craigslist or other local classifieds in your area. You’ll be able to set your own price and possibly squeeze a little extra out of your old tablet. Consider marking up the price a bit to compensate for shipping no longer being a factor.
If all else fails, iPad 1 is still as capable as it was when you bought it (assuming you haven’t been using it as a frisbee). Even if you do nab iPad 2, your original tablet can be used in a variety of clever ways, such as a secondary screen for a laptop. Shoot, velcro it to a treadmill or the back of a car seat. But if sell you must, be strategic about comparing the going rates at different marketplaces, and do it fast before your tablet is worth only as much as the apps you’ve bought!
Shane Snow is Editor-in-chief and cofounder of Contently.com, which contributed this post exclusively for Mint.