The iPhone 1.0 Should Be Cheap Now. Right? - InformationWeek

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6/27/2008
07:18 PM
Marin Perez
Marin Perez
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The iPhone 1.0 Should Be Cheap Now. Right?

When Steve Jobs said the iPhone 3G was going to start at $199, I immediately figured I could cop a cheap first-generation one on Craigslist or eBay. It's only logical to think Apple addicts would ditch their handsets for the latest and greatest, and that would lead to great online bargains.

When Steve Jobs said the iPhone 3G was going to start at $199, I immediately figured I could cop a cheap first-generation one on Craigslist or eBay. It's only logical to think Apple addicts would ditch their handsets for the latest and greatest, and that would lead to great online bargains.But if you do a quick scan through Craigslist, you'll find listings that read, "UNLOCKED 4 GB or 8 GB IPHONE ONLY $450 !!!" Wow, I get to pay only $450 for a device that's inferior to one I can soon get at a cheaper price. Where's my credit card?

And it's not just Craigslist, as eBay has 4 GB versions routinely selling for over $300. I know it hurts to drop more than $400 a year ago and then see a cheaper, faster version come out, but that's always been the risk of being an early adopter.

But Aaron Vranko, from Rapid Repair, said there will be an unprecedented boon for the iPhone 1.0. There will be a variety of factors, but many people are more than willing to pay for a device they can control.

"It's estimated that 25% of iPhones purchased were never activated," Vranko said. "It was the first popular mobile device where consumers decided to go against the manufacturer's desires and claim the phone for what they want it to do."

OK, jailbreaking a phone and getting TappApp is cool, but won't it be rendered useless with the upcoming App store? Won't you risk not being able to get access to the apps?

Vronko said phones unlocked via software can still access the official app store, but he expects that Apple's restrictions and its "walled-garden" approach will leave many developers uninterested.

"Frankly, some of the higher-profile demonstrations we've seen have been unimpressive," said Vronko. "There will still be plenty of people making 'underground' applications."

Naturally, Rapid Repair is hoping to get in on any continued demand for the original iPhone. They'll pay between $50 and $75 for used iPhones (good luck with those prices), and will also purchase damaged ones for parts. They'll sell refurbed iPhone 1.0s at an undisclosed price as well, as well as help facilitate unlocking the device.

I'm excited for the next-generation iPhone, and will be eating an ETF from HelioVirgin to do so. But, I'm curious to see what happens with first gen iPhone prices as July 11 creeps closer.

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