This post originally appeared a couple of weeks ago, but it's worth repeating. Amazon's prices are holding steady, and Radio Shack's have only dipped about $15. As of 1 p.m. EST, though, they're all going to plummet. So get selling!
The iPad 3 is almost here, and even though you don't know for sure what it'll be, you probably want one. No, you definitely want one. The best way to afford it? Sell your iPad 2. And here's your complete guide to how, where, and when you can do just that.
This one's easy: Right the hell now. March 7th is the odds-on favorite date for the iPad 3 announcement, and you definitely want to get your iPad 2 sold before then.
As soon as a new iPad 3 is official, a sudden glut of sellers means that trade-in offers will likely drop dramatically. Everyone's going to be jumping on the trade-in train, which is going to make it much harder to secure top dollar. Beating the rush is key. And you can make it a couple of weeks without your iPad right? Right?
Assuming you're not just going to con your aunt into taking your iPad off your hands, you've got to decide where to sell it. This is true for every major gadget flip, but the mainstream demand for Apple products—and the predictability of the company's product cycles—makes it easy to get a good deal. There are lots of options to choose from, but some are definitely better than others.
For consistency's sake, all prices listed are for the 32GB Wi-Fi Only model in the most perfectest condition.
RadioShack's Trade & Save program doesn't have the most generous prices when you're selling, but it's got one thing over almost everyone else: convenience. You don't have to make a listing, pack up and ship your iPad, monitor an auction, or deal with a bunch of questionable emailers trying to haggle you down. You just make sure your local RadioShack store accepts trade-ins, drop in, and exchange your tablet for dough.
The other good thing about the trade-in program is that you don't have to buy a new item on the spot. So if you want to trade in your iPad 2 now (you do), you can get a gift card with store credit, and come back once there are iPad 3s to be had.
Amazon offers a little more for a mint condition iPad 2, but it comes with the caveat that you'll need to pack it up and ship it to Amazon, where it may or may not be accepted in the condition you claimed. Amazon makes this easy—it provides the shipping label for you—and will even upgrade your item and give you a bigger payout if you underestimated what kind of shape it was in. Once everything's squared away, an Amazon gift card is credited to your account.
eBay is focusing less and less on its auctions lately, but it's got such a huge user base that you'll probably get the most foot traffic by posting your iPad 2 there. And it certainly doesn't hurt that a lot of eBay's users are, how to put this, less technologically inclined? That helps your chances of selling to people who either don't know where else to look, or who aren't aware that a new model is right around the corner
However! eBay is also where the PayPal monster lives. So if you don't like opening yourself up to flakey buyer horror shows—and the buyer almost always wins those—then maybe steer clear. We've seen multiple 32GB Wi-Fi iPads going in the $450 range, though, so it's up to you if the couple extra bucks is worth the headache.
Okay, so you haven't been especially kind to or responsible with your iPad this year. No sweat. Sell it on Craigslist. Prices vary wildly on Craigslist, to the point that it almost doesn't bear mentioning the outrageous asking prices that will be ignored or haggled down, or the please-buy-this-right-now-so-I-can-pay-rent-without-prostituting-myself deals. But the upshot of working in the Wild West of used luxury gadgets is that there is no return policy.
Should you sell someone a bum gadget? Of course not. But Craigslist gives you the best option for attempting to maximize your profit without opening yourself to frivolous returns. As always when dealing with Craigslist, meet somewhere public and secure, like a bank lobby.
These options all offer interesting convenience/price trade-offs. But for now, Amazon and RadioShack beat them on both price and ease of use, so there doesn't seem to be much sense to choosing these.
And that's it! Happy selling, and more importantly, enjoy that heavily subsidized iPad 3 next month.