If you’re a fan of the iPhone it’s an exciting time, particularly if you’re due an upgrade. But research suggests you’re going to have to act fast if you want to get the best trade-in price for your 4S.
Here’s a look at what Apple is likely to be unveiling come September 12, how much it’s likely to cost and how you can offset that cost by trading in your 4S.
iPhone 5 features and release date
If reports on the web are to be believed, the iPhone 5’s screen will be bigger than its predecessors at 4 inches (10cm) from corner to corner, up from 3.5 inches, with a high resolution ‘Retina Display’.
Apple appears to have ditched the all-over glass casing, which caused many a clumsy iPhone 4/4S owner to shed a tear, in favour of a matte charcoal metallic finish.
Sources who have managed to get their hands on the supposed casing of the new device claim it has parts which suggest it will incorporate Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, which allows for contactless payments.
Other sources claim the 30-pin port used to connect every iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch so far to a charger, speaker or charging dock is being replaced with a much smaller 8-pin port. This remains to be seen, but if true could cause compatibility problems with existing iPhone accessories – until someone manufactures an adapter.
The front-facing camera for FaceTime appears to have been moved to the centre of the handset too, but details on the resolutions of the sure-to-be-improved cameras are yet to unveiled.
Of course, the ‘leaked’ photographs depicting the new look could turn out to be fake, but multiple sources seem to be pointing in the same direction.
The iPhone 5 will run the as yet unreleased iOS6 operating system, which is also getting a bit of an overhaul from its previous version.
iOS6 will feature an upgrade to Siri, the voice activated personal assistant, so that it can understand questions about sports scores and movie listings, as well as provide support for more languages.
Apple is abandoning Google Maps in favour of its own maps app for iOS6. It will support turn-by-turn navigation and Siri integration, meaning you can use it totally hands-free while driving.
Other upgrades include Facebook integration similar to the Twitter integration already found on the current version of iOS, FaceTime availability over mobile web and an upgraded Safari browser.
At the moment websites such as iMore and AllThingsD (which have proven reliable in the past) say the September 12 reveal is all but confirmed. The iPhone 5 is then expected to be available to buy as of September 21.
Trade in soon
If we go on launch prices of older iPhone models and assume Apple’s not going to change its pricing strategy too drastically, the basic iPhone 5 could be available for around £450 to £550.
The 16GB models of the iPhone 3GS, 4 and 4S launched at £440, £480 and £499 respectively. While this does give us an indication on the iPhone 5’s price, we can’t be sure yet.
At £450 to £550, the iPhone is not going to come cheap – but 4S users may want to offset the cost of the iPhone 5 by recycling their handsets for cash.
If you’re planning on doing this you need to act fast as iPhone resell values tend to plummet once a new model is announced. According to research by Nextworth.com, older model iPhones lose up to 25% of their value on eBay in the two months leading up to a new product launch as the rumour mill goes into overdrive.
We’re now well into that period, but the longer you wait, the less you’ll get for your old handset.
At the time of writing, our mobile phone recycling partner will pay £203 for a working 16GB iPhone 4S and similar models are selling for around £250 to £290 on eBay. That could bring down the price of the iPhone 5 to anywhere between £200 and £300.
Of course mobile networks will be offering the handset at a much discounted price if you’re willing to sign up for a two-year contract, but won’t be unveiling their tariffs until Apple shows us what’s behind the curtain.
Remember, if you're going to recycle your old iPhone, you're going to be without one until late September or possibly early October - so you'll need an old or cheap handset to tide you over in the meantime.
Rumours also persist that a miniature version of the iPad will be making an appearance on September 12.
The expected 7-inch version of the iPad would appear to be a direct response to Google’s attempt to muscle in on the tablet market with the promising and cheap Nexus 7 – which you can read more about in my article here.
If you did want to trade in your standard 9-inch iPad for the iPad Mini when it arrives, our recycling partner is currently paying £211 for a working, wifi only, 16GB iPad 2. Of course, it remains to be seen how much that would offset the price of the new iPad Mini.
Follow Mark on Twitter at @MoneySuperMarkH
Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.