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Giving It Away

The first option is to give your first-generation iPhone away to a friend or family member, and from what I hear, this is one of the more popular solutions. If you have a willing spouse, this is a perfect idea, though you’ll need to be prepared to pay for the iPhone data fees — in the U.S. that’s $30 for your iPhone 3G and another $20 for your old iPhone, on top of your regular service plan.


If a spouse is out, giving your first iPhone away to a teenager — which would make you the best parent in the world for three or four days — also means you’d be handing over a device that originally cost several hundred dollars and comes with an extra monthly service charge. I currently don’t know any teenagers who’d truly appreciate such an amazing gift.

Then, of course, there are friends. I’ve got a buddy who’d like an iPhone, but I’d need at least $200 to part with it, and in that case, he’d be better off just getting a new iPhone 3G for $199. Are we good enough friends that I’d simply give him the phone as a gift?

Let’s just say I never offered.

Selling Your iPhone

After the launch of the iPhone 3G, the market for iPhones has decreased slightly, though not as much as One might expect. Some 8 GB models are still selling on eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) for well over $300, with quite a few hitting $450. Some new, still-in-the-box first-gen iPhones are going for even more.

The higher selling prices come with a caveat — they are usually reserved for iPhones that have already been unlocked and ready to use on any GSM-based network .

If eBay isn’t your style, there’s always the local classifieds or Craigslist, which lets you forego the auction style and set your own price. There are quite a few posts from buyers looking for lightly used iPhones, and they’re willing to pay around $200. It’s hard to know if these are mostly brokers or regular Joes just wanting an iPhone to use with T-Mobile .

There are also a couple of more formal businesses that are buying up used iPhones: NextWorth and Rapid Repair.

NextWorth is offering $202 for any “lightly used” 8 GB iPhone with all the standard accessories intact, while Rapid Repair offers $150. The newer 16 GB models are going for $252 and $200, respectively.

So What Does That Get You?

In addition to the money, what does selling your iPhone leave you? Well, $200 is quite handy, but in effect you’re trading cash for a cool iPod touch-like device. And, assuming that you snag the free Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) remote control application from the App Store, what about losing an iTunes and Apple TV remote control?

To replace an 8 GB iPhone with an 8 GB iPod touch could easily be a losing situation — Apple is selling its entry model 8GB iPod touch at $299, with a 32 GB model going for $499. An 8GB iPod nano costs $199, and it doesn’t even have a decent screen on it, much less a touch screen.

So Jailbreak It

You can also jailbreak or unlock your phone so you can use it with another GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) cellular service provider like T-Mobile. For me, though, that’s out of the question for one major reason: I won’t give up visual voicemail, which I’m totally addicted to, and in the U.S. you need AT&T (NYSE: T) for it.

Still, jailbreaking an iPhone will potentially open it up to a variety of applications that aren’t supported by Apple or available in the iTunes App Store, so there’s a chance that you could end up with a wicked-cool iPhone. Or you could muck around with it too much and brick it — or just waste a lot of your life tweaking and messing with it. I barely have enough time to make new music playlists on iTunes, so I’m not likely going to find the time to really make jailbreaking the phone a viable option. However, I’m guessing I’ll do it anyway once winter sets in and I find myself having a hard time getting to sleep one night.

Turn It Into an iPod Touch

If there’s one thing I don’t like about having music on my iPhone, it’s that playing the music through my home speaker systems makes receiving phone calls — or placing them — a pain in the butt. Sure, the iPhone 3G is great about fading music out so you know a call is coming in, but I don’t want to mess around with Bluetooth headsets and constantly plugging and unplugging my iPhone from the dock or various speaker systems.

So a dedicated iPod touch for media and music playing has some big-time appeal. Currently, it’s not that hard to set up your iPhone as a iPod touch-like device. Your computer will still recognize it as an iPhone, and iTunes still works with it. For instance, I easily installed the 2.0.1 software update to my old iPhone. If you put the iPhone in airplane mode, turn on the WiFi, and sync with iTunes, you’re good to go.

The Backup Plan

I’d sell my iPhone and replace it in a heartbeat with an iPod touch, if not for one little detail — there’s a good chance I’ll drop my iPhone into some mountain lake or bounce it off my driveway one too many times while juggling groceries and car keys. If that happens any time soon, AT&T is not going to let me waltz in and get a new one for $199 — I’ll be barely into my contract and I’ll have to pay an even higher price.

Or go without an iPhone altogether.


August 12, 2008 Posted by | Did you know? | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment