Lots of iPhones being traded in – even before news of iPhone 5

It seems that a fair number of people are getting a little antsy waiting for the launch of the new iPhone. So keen are they to get their hands on the not-yet-announced device that some people have already traded in their current iPhone model in anticipation. But something seems wrong here. That would leave them without a phone, right? OK, perhaps they have more than one, or could they be jumping ship and heading Android’s way?

Cnet have reported that third-party trade-in service Gazelle has seen an 84 percent “spike” in people sending in their old iPhone compared to iPhone trade-ins two weeks ago. And that’s before we’ve even had any mention from Apple about the iPhone 5, although speculation is rife that the device will be unveiled in the first week of October, with it hitting stores soon after.

Gazelle’s Anthony Scarsella told Cnet: “Last year we were getting about 100 a day pre-announcement, and it spiked to about 2,000 per day post-announcement. So we haven’t even hit it yet and we’re almost at 2,500 this week.”

The phones being sent to Gazelle have been an even mix of the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4.

“This launch has been so delayed and overdue, there’s definitely a lot more of a hype,” Scarsella said. “For us, this is really an unprecedented behavior, as gadget owners always wait – usually until a new product is announced – to trade in.”

Scarsella indicated that he found the spike difficult to get his head around, as it appears to indicate that people will be without a phone for at least a few weeks. “You can’t really trade in your phone and go without it,” he said. “With a tablet, and other categories, you can trade in your camera, wait two months, and buy a new camera. But with a cell phone, it’s kind of like you need one on you at all times.”

All those phoneless people will surely be hoping that Apple makes an announcement about the next-generation iPhone sooner rather than later. Like tomorrow.

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