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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Thinking about buying a new iPhone? Or iPad?

Apple's current iPhone models: the iPhone 4S, left, and the iPhone 5 in white and black.

Apple Inc.

Apple's current iPhone models: the iPhone 4S, left, and the iPhone 5 in white and black.



Maybe you're thinking about finally taking the plunge and upgrading to the latest iPhone 5, or getting that new iPad now that school has started. Not a bad idea — but this might not be the right time.

Apple updates its hardware on a pretty regular schedule, and it's not hard to make a pretty accurate guess at when the next version of its hardware is about to come out. In the case of the iPhone, it's even more clear-cut. Apple has scheduled a media event for Sept. 10, and folks who claim to know what they're talking about are all but certain that new iPhones will make their first appearance. (Most expect a new top-of-the-line iPhone 5S and possibly a first-time economy model in colorful plastic, expected to be named the iPhone 5C.) So that new iPhone 5 you take home today could be one step closer to obsolete in just a few weeks.

On the other hand, the weeks after that Sept. 10 announcement could be the perfect time to buy that soon-to-be-previous-generation iPhone 5. Since it won't be the latest and greatest model, it might be easy to find it at a discount.

Just don't pay full price before then.

On the flip side, if you're planning to sell your current iPhone to raise a little cash to buy that new gizmo, you need to move quickly. "That old iPhone sitting in the bottom of your sock drawer could be worth $300 — but only if you act now," Katie Lobosco reports for CNNMoney.

Gazelle, a site that streamlines the process of trading in your old electronics for cash, reports it received an average of about one iPhone every 5 seconds last week. Whether you're using them, another site or just selling yourself on eBay, the market is getting flooded and prices are dropping quickly.

How can you get buy selling your phone now when the one you want to buy won't be available for another month? Some sites, like Gazelle, give you the option of locking in a quote now and waiting 30 days to send in your phone.

If you're ever in the market for Apple products, maintains an excellent buyer's guide, which tracks the number of days since the company last announced new phones, tablets or computers. Each product is color-coded with a green ("Just updated"), yellow or red ("Don't buy!") dot to help you decide whether to wait.

Of course, waiting isn't always an option — but at least you can avoid some nasty surprises.

[Last modified: Friday, August 23, 2013 5:20pm]


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