By Quentin Fottrell
Manufacturing troubles at one of Apple’s main suppliers may cause headaches for consumers looking to get their hands on the new iPad — but could be a boon for those looking to resell their old ones.
In the past, consumers have been able to recoup much of the purchase price for new Apple (AAPL) gadgets by selling earlier models. Apple’s recent decision to slash $100 off the $499 price of the iPad 2, however, will likely cut into potential resale profits. At eBay’s “Instant Sale,” where the owners sell their tablets to the auction site – the average resale price for a 64-gigabyte iPad 2 with Wi-Fi and 3G has dropped by one-third to $325 since the announcement of the new iPad last week.
Supply problems at Sharp, which makes iPad screens, may keep those resale values from falling further and could boost sales, analysts say. (The Japanese electronics maker did not respond to requests for comment.) “iPad 2 sales could certainly benefit in the short-term, so long as the prices for those resold models are significantly less than Apple’s $399 price,” says Mark Spoonauer, editor-in-chief at LapTopMag.com.
Some resellers are counting on those delays. “Many consumers will likely hold on to their current models until they have taken delivery of the newer one,” says Anthony Scarsella, chief gadget officer of resale site Gazelle.com.
But tech experts say those wanting to sell their iPad 2s should still act soon. Resale site Nextworth.com currently buys the 16G Wi-Fi-only iPad 2 for just $210 from consumers, down 30% from $272 prior to the iPad 3 announcement. What’s more, Samsung and LG Electronics also supply iPad screens and they will simply churn out more to make up for the delays, says Saw Wu, senior analyst with private brokerage firm Sterne Agee. “The Sharp issue is a setback, but a minor one,” he says, estimating Apple will sell 50 million of the new iPads in just 12 months – double the number of iPads and iPad 2s sold during their first years.