Trade-in values for used Apple iPads plummeted as much as 26% after the company launched its newest tablet Wednesday and began taking pre-orders for delivery by March 16.
The drop-off was expected: Last week, representatives from two electronics buy-back companies, NextWorth and Gazelle, predicted that the prices they pay for older iPads would decline after the unveiling of what Apple's calling "the new iPad" as sellers flooded the market.
On Friday, NextWorth said it was offering $215 for a 16GB Wi-Fi iPad 2 in "good" condition, down 23% from $278 on Monday, March 5, two days before Apple introduced the new iPad, a tablet with a higher-resolution screen and increased graphics horsepower.
Gazelle's declines have fallen slightly steeper. On Feb. 29, Gazelle was paying $222 for a 16GB Wi-Fi iPad 2 in "good" condition; today, the company's site quoted $165. That represents a 26% slide in value in just nine days.
People are eager to get rid of their current iPads, added eBay.
Yesterday, the online auctioneer reported a 10-fold increase in the number of tablet trade-in requests fielded by its Instant Sale section compared to Tuesday, the day before the new iPad's unveiling. Of the 20,000 buy-back quotes Instant Sale generated, 89% of them were for iPads customers wanted to unload, with the Wi-Fi iPad the most popular model people hoped to trade in.
eBay's auction section also showed an increase in listings of iPads and iPad 2s after Apple's announcements Wednesday, Todd Witkemper, a public relations manager for eBay, said in an interview Friday.
"The Marketplace has definitely seen an increase in the number of iPad and iPad 2 listings," said Witkemper. "On Wednesday afternoon, three times the number of new listings were added than were added on Tuesday."
Today, Instant Sale offered $290 for a 16GB Wi-Fi iPad 2 in "working condition." eBay will guarantee that price through March 10 as part of a special promotion that kicked off two days ago.
Both NextWorth and Gazelle also lock in their quotes: The former guarantees its offers for 21 days, while the latter does for 30 days. Those offer guarantees are designed to give consumers time to purchase a new tablet before having to turn in the older model they now use.
Apple will continue to sell the iPad 2, albeit in just two SKUs -- the 16GB Wi-Fi and 16GB Wi-Fi/3G models -- for $399 and $529, respectively, or $100 less than the price of the comparable new tablet.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is email@example.com.