Looking to sell? Amazon offers top dollar for iPhone trade-ins

Apple sent out media invites this morning for a September 12 event where many believe it will unveil the new iPhone. The handset is expected to become available for pre-order the same day, and launch in stores the following week.

The news has kickstarted the pre-announcement ritual of folks looking to sell off their old Apple gear to help pay for the new stuff. And if you’re looking to do the same, Amazon appears to be offering top dollar for old iPhones…

There’s really no shortage of options in the resale space. Notorious resellers Gazelle and NextWorth are both running a cool deal where they’ll lock in your device’s value now, but won’t ask for them until October. And of course, Best Buy and GameStop are both running buyback programs, and sites like eBay are still an option.

But if you’re looking to get top dollar for your iPhone, it looks like Amazon is the place to beat. A quick glance at their trade-in page shows that you can get as much as $500 for your iPhone 4S, or $350 for your iPhone 4, depending on model and condition. For example, they’ll give you $420 for a 16GB iPhone 4S in like-new condition, which is $150 more than what Gazelle, and $120 more than NextWorth, for the same handset.

There is, however, one major caveat: Amazon’s not going to be sending you cash or a check for your old device. The payment comes in the form of an Amazon.com gift card, so you’re limited to what you can spend the cash on. But if you’re a frequent shopper of the website, then you’ll have no problem putting the credit to good use.

The most important thing to remember here, regardless of where you decide to resell your old handset, is that the longer you wait, the further it goes down in value. You’ve got two weeks before the next-gen iPhone launches.