Apple unveiled its latest iPhones today – the iPhone XS, iPhone XR, and iPhone XS Max. The new devices range in price from $749 for the iPhone XR to $1,099 for the iPhone XS Max, with the iPhone XS selling for $999. The XS and XS Max go on sale on September 21 (preorders start September 14). The iPhone XR goes on sale October 26, with pre-orders starting October 19.
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Even the cheapest new iPhone is hundreds of dollars more than the original iPhone cost back in 2007. Eleven years ago, Apple rolled out the first iteration of the soon-to-be-ubiquitous device, paving the way for the smartphone revolution. The original 4GB model retailed for $499 and the 8GB version for $599.
Technology has advanced leaps and bounds since that first iPhone, but there are still people interested in getting their hands on the device that started it all.
Original iPhones sell for thousands of dollars
The first iPhone | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
If you still have your old first-generation iPhone in its original box, consider yourself in luck. Earlier in September, a used, 4GB original iPhone with box sold for $1,025 on eBay. An unopened 8GB iPhone 2G with a 2007 launch day bag sold for even more — $4,640. Other, similar items sold for hundreds of dollars, depending on their condition.
Some optimistic sellers seem to think they can get even more for their vintage device. As of September 12, several listings had “buy it now” prices above $10,000, with one listed for $19,999.
If you kept your old device but tossed the box, your phone is likely worth a lot less. Used original iPhones without a box generally sold for $30 to $60 on eBay.
Apple produced 6.1 million of the first iPhone before stopping production in July 2008, so they weren’t exactly rare. But there are far fewer of them out there than later models, which could make them more valuable to collectors, as the Daily Dot pointed out. As with any collectible, the better the condition, the more you’ll get, with new-in-box items fetching the highest price.
Will it work?
The first iPhone is displayed at an Apple store on June 29, 2007, in Santa Monica, California. | Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images
What’s the point of buying an old iPhone? For big Apple fans, it’s simply a cool-to-have collector’s item. But if you want to be able to do most of the things that you’re used to doing on a smartphone, like texting or using most apps, the original iPhone is basically useless.
Apple stopped supporting the original iPhone in 2010, and it hasn’t worked on AT&T’s network since early 2017. And since the iPhone was exclusive to AT&T back when it was first released, you can’t just take it to another carrier, Business Insider explained. (You might be able to use it in another country where wireless carriers still maintain 2G networks, though.)
You can use an original iPhone with WiFi, though don’t count on being able to do much. When a writer at Mashable tried to use a 2007 iPhone in 2017, he didn’t get far. Not only did the phone not function as a phone, but installing apps on it was next to impossible. Of the pre-installed apps, only 13 were semi-functional, including Safari, Camera, Google Maps, Clock, and Weather.
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“Ten years is a long time in tech. It’s enough time to turn what was once considered a beyond-cutting-edge smartphone into an antiquated paperweight,” wrote Raymond Wong.
Old iPhones aren’t the only antique tech that’s selling on eBay. A gold Dolce & Gabbana Razr phone from 2006 sold for $150, and a Nokia 8110, which you might recognize from The Matrix, can sell for as much as $100. A Motorola DynaTac – the first cell phone ever sold – might go for $300. Maybe it’s time to clean out your junk drawer?