Shh, Don’t Tell Anyone: It’s Cheaper to Upgrade Your Apple Device Every Year

It is true: putting in the extra time to sell your Apple device year-after-year does leave you with both more cash overall as well as the claim to fame of owning the newest devices at each release. Shh, let’s not let news of this realization spread too far-and-wide…

On the presumptuous site that is eBay, the value of a used Apple product only drops moderately following a new product release. People do not mind saving a few dollars or are not as well-informed of the upgrades; perhaps they do not need a Retina Display or a gradual performance boost. So they venture off and pay users top dollar for their iDevices and Mac systems.

Let’s take the iPad and examine the eBay pricing rundown. Even a few months after the new iteration’s release, an iPad 2 16GB with Wi-Fi impressively will sell in the $350 range. It is $150 shy of the third-generation iPad’s price, although sales still hovered in the $400 range at its initial release. Whereas a used 1st-generation 16GB Wi-Fi model will only fetch between $200-$280 on average, which is quite a good value for a device of its age although it is a bigger gap than if the iPad was sold in time for respective iPad 2 and third-generation upgrades.

Auctions that fetch more are better-photographed, described, and occur at superior times of day. Higher capacities, especially 64GB can go for more than the $200 premium they initially did.

Sell iPad for an iPad 2: $70-$150 to upgrade after eBay sale.

“Trade” that iPad 2 for a third-generation iPad: same deal, $70-$150.

Cost to sell a first-generation iPad today then buy the newest third-generation iPad: $220-$300.

If a user were to take the time to sell their original iPad then upgrade twice, it would have cost somewhere between $140-$300 to be an early adopter of both new models collectively. Today, that same upgrade would cost either quite a bit more, or the same amount. Wouldn’t you rather be owning the newest device on the block and enjoying the updated feature-set rather than clinging to an old, comparatively noticeably outdated iPad?

The same applies to Macs. Currently, I am looking to sell my 2008 unibody MacBook Pro. It was the higher-end model, which cost $2,500 at its time of release. The previous-generation 2011 15″ MacBook Pro models have been going for around $1300-1600 used, price depending on listing quality and time of day. Of course, that is only $200-$500 less (subtract another $100 if you know how to get deals from other retailers) than the price of a new 15″ MacBook Pro.

If I were to spend $250 every year to upgrade my MacBook Pro, I would have spent about a thousand dollars total and currently have the newest 2012 base MacBook Pro. Today, my 2008 MacBook Pro which originally cost $2,500 will go for $750-$900, $1,000 if I am just that lucky. Same applies here, it would have been more cost-effective (and exciting…) to lay out the cash year-after-year.

Okay, there that is. Perhaps one of the best, yet little-known secrets in the world of Apple. I like you guys, enough… okay, iPhone Alley fans are some of the best. So I figured I would share; although I am sure value is going to drop with more people selling their devices every year.