Sign Number 19,478 that Apple is preparing to release a new iPhone soon: It will now pay you money (sort of!) for your iPhone 4S on its website.

The Next Web points out that Apple has added the iPhone 4S -- the most recent iPhone, released in October of last year -- to its "Reuse & Recycle" online trade-in program, meaning that you can sell back your iPhone to Apple for cash in the form of a gift certificate to the Apple Store. Just choose your iPhone's storage capacity, color and condition from a drop-down menu on Apple's website, and you'll see an estimate of how much Apple thinks your iPhone 4S is worth; the company pays for shipping and packaging and, upon receipt of your device, mails you a gift card to the Apple Store.

We've already explained why it's a wise financial move to sell your old iPhone before purchasing a new one: The amount of money you can get for your old handset could likely defray the upfront cost of an iPhone at AT&T or Verizon, saving you a bunch of moolah as you upgrade. And we also showed you the mountain of evidence that indicates the earlier you sell your iPhone, the more money you'll get for it: The closer we get to the likely September 12th announcement date, and September 21st release date, for the so-called 'iPhone 5,' the less money that trade-in sources like Gazelle, NextWorth, and, now, Apple.com, will be willing to pay for your old gear. If you can go a month or so without a phone, or pop your SIM card into a spare phone in the meantime, you'd be well-served to sell your current iPhone pronto.

What is interesting about the sudden appearance of the iPhone 4S in Apple's Reuse & Recycle Program is not that Apple is necessarily offering the best prices. (You should shop around at the various gadget re-sellers before you determine which outlet is best.) For a 16GB iPhone 4S in good condition, for example, Apple offers $235, while Gazelle.com offers $268 and lets you hang onto it for 30 days. Gazelle also pays you in cash, rather than in the form of an Apple gift card.

What's more interesting about the ability to sell iPhone 4S directly to Apple is that it is more anecdotal evidence that the company is getting ready to debut a new phone. While we're already pretty confident that Apple is indeed going to hold an event on September 12th, given the overwhelming number of reputable news outlets with close ties to Apple reporting it is so, this appears to be yet another sign that the date is creeping closer, an admission by Apple that many are, indeed, going to want to trade in their old iPhones fairly soon. And, hey -- if Apple can get those traders to spend money at the Apple Store with gift cards, rather than elsewhere with the checks they'd receive from third-party sources, then so much better for Apple, right?

If you're interested in selling your old iPhone (or any Apple device) back to Apple, you can investigate their Reuse & Recycle program here. For more on how, where, and why to sell your iPhone in advance of the iPhone 5, check out this article here.

Browse our gallery (below) to see some of the juiciest Apple rumors from last week.

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  • The iPhone 5 Will Be Released In September, The iPad Mini In October: Reports

    The <a href="http://allthingsd.com/20120825/confirmed-new-ipad-mini-will-debut-in-october-after-latest-iphones-september-bow/" target="_hplink">big rumor this week</a> is that Apple is holding two separate events this autumn, one for the next iPhone in September and then another for the iPad Mini in October. But here's my question: How could Apple possibly afford renting out two separate spaces in such a short time per-- Oh. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/24/apple-samsung-patent-lawsuit-ruling_n_1829472.html" target="_hplink">Oh, right</a>. Anyway, the <a href="http://allthingsd.com/20120825/confirmed-new-ipad-mini-will-debut-in-october-after-latest-iphones-september-bow/" target="_hplink">super well-connected John Paczkowski of AllThingsD writes this weekend</a> that Apple is definitely going to throw separate events for the iPhone and for the smaller iPad, with September 12 as the date for the iPhone 5 (yes, we're still calling it that) and one in October for the iPad Mini. Paczkowski is so confident in his sources -- who are perhaps Apple PR reps -- that the headline of his article is "Confirmed: New iPad Mini to Debut in October, After Latest Apple iPhone's September Bow." So, yeah: CONFIRMED. We're inclined to believe Paczkowski. Even if it bucks the conventional wisdom that Apple would just unveil both the new iPhone and iPad Mini at once. Now, it appears very likely that Apple won't make them share the spotlight. Paczkowksi's "confirmation" comes after <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2012/08/24/rumor-mill-apple-is-two-holding-separate-events-for-the-new-iphone-and-ipad/" target="_hplink">speculation from two other bloggers</a> with deep connections to Apple -- John Gruber and Jim Dalrymple -- that Apple would throw separate events. Given that the three of them have come together to back this whole Two Press Conferences Theory, you've gotta think that is indeed what Apple is planning. So, to recap: iPhone 5 in September, iPad Mini in October. So it is written, so it is to be done. Now, let's dive a bit deeper into what we learned about those two devices this week, shall we? We shall. Take my hand and let's explore!

  • The iPhone 5 Is Probably Going To Be Released On September 21st

    We seemingly know everything there is to know about the new iPhone: We're just sort of waiting for it to be introduced at this point. All of the rumors from this week build upon the consensus of the gadget we're all expecting, with the biggest one corroborating the rumor of a September 21 American release date. If you missed it, <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2012/08/21/iphone-5-launch-date/" target="_hplink">TechCrunch all but confirmed that late September 21st</a> release by noting that Verizon employees have been told not to request vacation at the end of September: That vacation ban aligns with when the iPhone 5 will be released, so says TechCrunch. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/22/iphone-5-release-date-september-21_n_1821435.html" target="_hplink">I wrote at length</a> about why this makes sense earlier this week, and why we can almost definitely expect it on September 21. The important details of the next iPhone, meanwhile, are still in place: The larger, 4.0-inch screen; iOS 6; 4G LTE; a smaller dock connector (<a href="http://www.macrumors.com/2012/08/22/alleged-photo-of-usb-cable-with-smaller-dock-connector-surfaces/" target="_hplink">you can see a photo of the alleged new charger here</a>). One interesting artifact: A developer put together a YouTube video of what a game might look like on the taller display that's expected to arrive with the iPhone 5: <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qjTel0puoQ&feature=player_embedded" target="_hplink">You can view that here</a>. Elsewhere on the Apple-obsessed Interwebs, the repairpeople at SmartPhone Medic got their hands on an alleged iPhone 5 screen and a few internal flex cables ("flex cable" was, incidentally, one of my nicknames in college) and <a href="http://www.macrumors.com/2012/08/22/video-comparison-of-iphone-5-front-panel-and-flex-cables-to-iphone-4s-parts/" target="_hplink">put together a video in which you can gawk at their findings</a>. It's not the, uh, sexiest thing you'll watch all week (especially if you watch a lot of sexy things) but it does, again, build that consensus about what we're probably going to be seeing in a few weeks. But more mysterious is the iPad Mini. Let's see what we have on that front this week...

  • Apple Ramping Up Production Of Smaller iPad -- But What, Oh What, Will It Be Called?

    So, this is smaller, cheaper iPad that Apple is working on -- you know, the so-called "iPad Mini," the one that's supposed to combat the Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7 -- what's up with <em>that</em>? Well, it seems like it's real, that it's gone from a whisper some analyst heard way back in 2011 to an actual, tangible product that Apple will unveil in October or November. Korean trade paper (Oppa gangnam) <a href="http://www.macrumors.com/2012/08/20/apple-to-ramp-up-7-85-ipad-mini-production-in-september/" target="_hplink">Digitimes reports that</a> Apple is ramping up production of a 7.85-inch tablet device in September so that it's ready to go by year's end -- that makes sense, especially now that we have confirmation there's an event happening in October. The sketchy Japanese Apple blog Macotakara, meanwhile, <a href="http://www.macotakara.jp/blog/index.php?ID=17505" target="_hplink">thinks that it</a> really will be called the iPad Mini, though we're far from consensus on that point. (The aforementioned John Gruber, for example, floated the name "iPad Air" as a suggestion, just to further the inter-mixing of Apple product names). The big "get" this week in iPad AirMiniNanoTouch rumors, however, were these cases, at left, which apparently give a good idea of the size and dimensions of what a smaller iPad might look like. <a href="http://www.gizchina.com/2012/08/24/ipad-mini-case-rear-camera-mini-dock-connector/" target="_hplink">They come via GizChina</a>, who found the cases on sale in, well, China; they are apparently based on the iPad Mini that Apple is about to produce en masse for -- all together now -- an October release. The photos show a front camera for FaceTime, a 7.85-inch screen, and the smaller dock connector <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2012/08/14/apple-is-creating-an-e-waste-problem/" target="_hplink">we've been hearing so much about</a>. <a href="http://www.gizchina.com/2012/08/24/ipad-mini-case-rear-camera-mini-dock-connector/" target="_hplink">You can see more at GizChina</a>.

  • Apple Television Not Coming Any Time Soon?

    The iPhone 5 is coming in September. The iPad Mini is coming in October. The Apple television is coming some-time-after-that-but-nobody-really-knows-when. We know Apple's working on a TV, because Steve Jobs said so to his biographer Walter Isaacson. But thus far, we have no idea when to expect one, with estimates ranging from "Before Christmas" to "Before the World Ends, Surely." This week, analyst Andy Hargreaves put out a note reporting that Apple SVP Eddy Cue suggested that an Apple television (or 'iTV,' in the popular parlance) is not imminent. <a href="http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2012/08/24/message-from-apple-execs-no-tv-solution-any-time-soon/" target="_hplink">Here's Hargreaves, via Fortune</a>: <blockquote>Relative to the television market, Eddy Cue, Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services, reiterated the company's mantra that it will enter markets where it feels it can create great customer experiences and address key problems. The key problems in the television market are the poor quality of the user interface and the forced bundling of pay TV content, in our view. While Apple could almost certainly create a better user interface, Mr. Cue's commentary suggested that this would be an incomplete solution from Apple's perspective unless it could deliver content in a way that is different from the current multichannel pay TV model. </blockquote> Hargreaves goes on to note that networks are loath to give up the sweet deals that cable companies give them to accomodate Apple, so a TV is unlikely in the near-term until Apple can work something out. Our consolation prize? Months and months and months of Apple television rumors! Hooray!!! That's all for This Week In Apple Rumors. Make sure you check back next week, when I will make up all sorts of funny names for a smaller iPad ("The iPad-ette"? "Lil' iPad"? "Tiny iPad Jr."?) And again, if you can't wait one week for your Apple rumor fix, you can get up-to-the-minute Apple rumors by <a href="http://twitter.com/gilbertjasono" target="_hplink">following me on Twitter right here</a>.