Apple offers up to $345 for 4S prior to iPhone 5 launch

iPhone 4S trade-inFull Coverage From Apple's 9/12 iPhone 5 Launch EventOf course, Apple hasn’t yet made any official announcement on the subject of its next-generation iPhone; the company will, as usual, make no mention of it until it actually comes to mention it on stage in front of a crowd of adoring, expectant fans. That’s how Apple works. It likes to keep you hanging on. And hanging on.

The heavily smoking iPhone rumor mill is currently turning so fast that it’s in danger of coming loose and rolling out of view, but as things stand, it seems fairly well agreed upon among Apple-watchers that the phone, possibly called the iPhone 5 (or simply the ‘new iPhone’, or something else altogether…) will be unveiled on September 12 and go on sale September 21.

The company has also given a subtle hint that things are afoot with the news it’s now offering to buy your iPhone 4S from you for $345, because of course, as soon as the latest device shows up, you won’t be wanting the old model anymore, will you?

The Next Web happened upon the offer, which is part of Apple’s buy-back scheme, officially known as the Apple Recycling Program. A spick-and-span 64GB 4S phone will net you $345 – albeit in the form of an Apple gift certificate.

You’ll need to fill out a short online questionnaire to see how much it’s worth – eg. Has it been water damaged? Does the battery fully charge? Any scratches? If you’ve treated it like you would a newborn baby (ie. with great care), then you might be able to secure top dollar, but who really has such a perfect-looking phone?

Bear in mind that the online questionnaire is just a guide – a full assessment is made by Apple once it receives the handset. Of course, if your answers are honest and accurate, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t receive a gift certificate equivalent to what the online evaluator came up with. Of course, you’d be wise to check out other trade-in options, such as Gazelle, which might offer a better price.

Once the next-generation iPhone is unveiled, do you think your 4S is suddenly going to feel extremely old?