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Anderton

Anybody Want to Sell Me an Old iPhone?

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Here's why...I wanted to get an iPhone for my daughter for her birthday, and the $299 price for the 32GB seemed worth it. So we went to the AT&T store, and they said that was a promotional price, and since she already had cell phone service, she wouldn't be available for the upgrade price until January 2010.

 

Okay, so how much if we just buy it? "$699." I don't think so.

 

But wait! There's a big ad that advertises the old iPhone for $99 - "Now everyone can afford to put an iPhone in their pocket!" There was an asterisk on the $99, but no fine print...so I say, "How about we just get that, then upgrade to the new iPhone in January?" "Okay sir, no problem. That'll be $399." Huh? I thought it was $99? "Well, $99 is the upgrade price." "Nothing in the ad says that." "Oh, you're right, it doesn't. Well, it's $399."

 

So here's my question: If someone wants to sell an old iPhone, PM me with the price. If it's reasonable, I'll buy it and my daughter can do the upgrade thing in January.

 

Argh...

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Huh. Here's the disclaimer under that $99 price tag on the Apple site...

 

Requires new two-year AT&T wireless service contract, sold separately to qualified customers; credit check required; must be 18 or older. Existing AT&T customers who want to upgrade from another phone or replace an iPhone 3G should check with AT&T or use www.apple.com/iphone/buy to find out if they are eligible for early upgrade pricing: $299 (8GB), $399 (16GB), or $499 (32GB) with a new two-year contract. For those who are not eligible for an early upgrade or who wish to buy iPhone as a gift, the prices are $499 (8GB), $599 (16GB), or $699 (32GB).

 

Well, that's not cool. :|

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Oh, now I get it: You have to go to the Apple web site to get the disclaimer for the ad in the AT&T store. How dumb of me not to realize that!

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Mine (16GB 3GS) just arrived, and I'm trying to get it all configured and whatnot.

 

Craig, if you're currently with AT&T, you have to either pay full price for the iPhone or - if you're lucky like I was - you can upgrade for the $99 / $199 / $299 price (8GB 3G, 16GB 3GS, 32GB 3GS, respectively). However, if you recently renewed your contract, you're stuck with waiting or paying full price, or maybe the somewhat reduced "early upgrade" price.

 

IIRC, they told me over the phone that while my old 2 year contract wasn't up until July, I still qualified for the sale prices if I renewed for 2 more years. According to the phone rep at ATT, you have to be at least 20 months into your contract before you "qualify".

 

They did NOT make any of that obvious on the websites.

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Huh. Here's the disclaimer under that $99 price tag on the Apple site...


Requires new two-year AT&T wireless service contract, sold separately to qualified customers; credit check required; must be 18 or older. Existing AT&T customers who want to upgrade from another phone or replace an iPhone 3G should check with AT&T or use
www.apple.com/iphone/buy
to find out if they are eligible for early upgrade pricing: $299 (8GB), $399 (16GB), or $499 (32GB) with a new two-year contract. For those who are not eligible for an early upgrade or who wish to buy iPhone as a gift, the prices are $499 (8GB), $599 (16GB), or $699 (32GB).


Well, that's not cool. :|

 

I've read both sides of this on the Net, and come to the conclusion that it's cool.

 

The $99/$199/$299 prices are the result of a carrier subsidy and is the same model used for smartphones around the world. The Nokia N97 is $700 unlocked, and the iPhone 3G itself costs $770 (8 GB) and $877 (16 GB) unlocked. The 3G never actually cost $99. That price is only offered through a subsidy which carriers recoup through contracts after paying the manufacturer hundreds of dollars for each sale.

 

As someone summed it up on a tech site:

 

"I hate to defend AT&T or any other carrier. I hate their guts. All of them. Their monthly fees are highway robbery, yes. Their roaming charges are unjustified and just outrageous. And while you

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I've read both sides of this on the Net, and come to the conclusion that it's cool.

 

not so fast. It's not cool. We have third world phone coverage - go ahead, ask an immigrant, I'll wait.

 

And we pay top dollar for the privilege. The carriers have powerful trade lobbies and abundant political influence. Apple has world markets that they somehow manage to do business in with different pricing structures.

 

We can buy very serviceable computers for 300USD. They insist on dead end obsolescence and CE style price points. It's offensive.

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We can buy very serviceable computers for 300USD. They insist on dead end obsolescence and CE style price points. It's offensive.

 

You can buy a cheap computer or phone or an expensive computer or phone. But a decent $1500 computer isn't offensive because a POS computer can be bought for $300. Similarly, if you want a new, high quality smartphone from any manufacturer, you have to pay for it.

 

It's no different for phones than for any other piece of technology. Newer, more powerful technology costs more than older weaker technology. If there's enough value to the product at the price, people buy it. Otherwise they don't... or shouldn't.

 

But the point with these new smartphones is that they're computers more than phones (some phone companies are already selling laptop computers that are subsidized and tied to a contract for wireless service). It's great that smartphones exist, because it puts a versatile computer in your pocket that replaces a lot of other gadgets. But sadly you gotta pay for it.

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Agreed. But that's phone service, not phone subsidies.


It's the same model for Apple and every other phone maker around the world. Phones like the iPhone are available for around $800 without a subsidy, or anywhere from zero to a few hundred dollars with a subsidy (essentially paying off the price of the phone over the duration of the contract).

 

I mashed the two together because they invented their own business - not me. The subsidies came from a time when unit volume was so small that mfrs needed the revenue to create designs and features. Does that still hold up? State of the Art Phones have sold for 800 dollars since the 1980s. (I probably have a Panasonic with a handle on it somewhere.) I think the underlying economics have changed.

 

The carriers work on a 18 to 24 mos cycle. That is what Craig is up against. Apple's product cycle is closer to 12 mos. Hence the tension.

 

ATT's iPhone customer average is $90/mo.

 

ATT offered and withdrew a debundled unlimited data plan last year for pay as you go customers for $20/mo. I'm guessing their cost is no more than $12 if they offered that price. I think they are earning out on that "subsidy".

 

I understand and regard the points you make re: value, but I like my darn little $350 netbook which would cost a fraction of that if the mfrs were pushing the units that the iPhone is.

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I've read both sides of this on the Net, and come to the conclusion that it's cool.

 

I wasn't referring to the policy. Just to the bait-and-switch aspect of the marketing, which has been blasting that "iPhone now $99!" message around a lot. Obviously it's (minimally) misleading, and (much like "0% interest OAC!") it doesn't apply to most of the people reading it. That's the uncool part.

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I wasn't referring to the policy. Just to the bait-and-switch aspect of the marketing, which has been blasting that "iPhone now $99!" message around a lot. Obviously it's (minimally) misleading, and (much like "0% interest OAC!") it doesn't apply to most of the people reading it. That's the uncool part.

 

I got mine for free last year because of the "points" I gathered as a user.

Otherwise I would have pad around 499 USD for it. Even with my contract. And I'm in 3rd world.

 

I have not checked the "offer" for the new 3G S but I guess it would be the same, making me wait until January.

 

... Oh, well ... ;)

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I wasn't referring to the policy. Just to the bait-and-switch aspect of the marketing, which has been blasting that "iPhone now $99!" message around a lot. Obviously it's (minimally) misleading, and (much like "0% interest OAC!") it doesn't apply to most of the people reading it. That's the uncool part.

 

I understand that there are a lot of come-ons that when you read the fine print, you find out doesn't apply to you. However, the problem I had with the "$99 - now everyone can have an iPhone in their pocket" in-store promotion was that there was no disclaimer or elaboration on the ad itself. There was an asterisk, but it didn't actually lead to anything on the ad. NOTHING indicated that this was a restricted deal. The ONLY way you could find out (aside from going to a web site) was to talk to one of the salespeople.

 

It also seemed kind of out of whack that if you wanted to buy one outright, it was $399 - four times as much as the "come-on." If the guy had come back to me and said, "Well you have three phones with us, you've been a customer since 1998, you've always paid your pretty substantial bill on time, so we'll sell it to you for $200" I would have done it. But $400 for Apple's cheapest first-generation 8GB model with a propensity for cracked screens? I don't think so.

 

What's more, this was just after my Palm Centro died, one month after the warranty ran out. I took the battery out and put it in several times, tried to do the soft reset, hard reset...nope. I went to the AT&T store and (after a 30 minute wait - there was only one employee), they said "you can buy a new one for $280." I asked if they had a refurbished unit, they said no - send it in to Palm for repairs or go to Best Buy and get a pay-as-you-go phone and just swap out sim cards.

 

Interestingly, Best Buy had a Nokia for $20 that was the exact same model as one the AT&T store was selling for $40, if that gives you any indication of real pricing of a unit vs. the "oh, we have to sell it for more because we're subsidizing your service" price. Sounds to me that AT&T selling for 200% more than a company that DIDN'T have to subsidize phone service was more about subsidizing their profit margin.

 

So I got the cheapo phone, because I have to have a cell phone. I went to the Palm site to find out about repairs or maybe getting a refurb, and while I was there stopped by their support forum to see if other people had a similar problem, and whether they were able to get it fixed. In the forum, I found a thread where dozens of people (maybe even close to a hundred) had the same problem with the Centro I did. At the end of the thread was a solution: Scrub the battery terminals on the phone itself and the battery with alcohol and a toothbrush. I did, and now the phone works perfectly again.

 

To sum up, AT&T's "service" for the Palm was "We don't know crap, buy a new phone - hey! Better yet, why don't you do our job for us and figure out how to service your phone?" So I was already not exactly enchanted when we went in a few days later to buy the iPhone.

 

I think my daughter's going to end up buying a Japanese phone and unlocking it. She can get a phone that makes the iPhone 3GS look like stone age technology for $100 (and that's without any kind of contract or subsidy...another reason I cast a dubious eye on the "oh poor us, we'll selling you phone service so cheap we have to sell these phones at outrageous profit margins, boo hoo" explanation). The screens are in Japanese, but she knows enough Japanese that won't be a problem...she'll likely be able to go into a settings menu and change the language, anyway. Or maybe she'll get a Palm Pre (which also exceeds the iPhone in several respects) and figure out how to make it work on AT&T.

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I wasn't referring to the policy. Just to the bait-and-switch aspect of the marketing, which has been blasting that "iPhone now $99!" message around a lot. Obviously it's (minimally) misleading, and (much like "0% interest OAC!") it doesn't apply to most of the people reading it. That's the uncool part.

 

Oh - I understand what you meant now. The bait and switch aspect does suck, and the "asterisk to nowhere" Craig mentioned sounds not only surreal but I would think would break some kind of law at the same time. Although by the numbers, I would think most people would be eligible for the $99 price... but I hear you!

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I think my daughter's going to end up buying a Japanese phone and unlocking it. She can get a phone that makes the iPhone 3GS look like
stone age technology
for $100 (and that's without any kind of contract or subsidy...another reason I cast a dubious eye on the "oh poor us, we'll selling you phone service so cheap we have to sell these phones at outrageous profit margins, boo hoo" explanation). The screens are in Japanese, but she knows enough Japanese that won't be a problem...she'll likely be able to go into a settings menu and change the language, anyway. Or maybe she'll get a Palm Pre (which also exceeds the iPhone in several respects) and figure out how to make it work on AT&T.

 

If your daughter can get a Japanese phone and operate it in Japanese, that's so cool why would she even consider anything else?!

 

I'd be wary of the first version of the Pre though. A phone freak friend of mine got one and is not happy with the hardware. The software is cool, but the hardware is iffy.

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Let me tell you something..This sucks!! I just got my 8gig3G in March and I wanted to get the new one and give my girlfriend my current one. So I can't?

What about if I LOSE my iphone? :)

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If your daughter can get a Japanese phone and operate it in Japanese, that's so cool why would she even consider anything else?!

 

For further evidence the USA is now a third world country...

 

My daughter is smart. And very, very cool. So about those subsidies...

 

Best Buy sells a phone for $20 that AT&T sells for $40. Best Buy doesn't sell phone service to subsidize the low price.

 

My daughter goes online and finds that you can BUY a phone in Japan (as in, go into a store and say "Hi, I'd like to buy a phone," you give them the quoted price, they give you a phone) for $200 that WIPES THE FLOOR with the iPhone. Apple charges $100 freakin' dollars for 16GB of RAM? When you can buy 16GB of RAM in a stick, with packaging, at Office Depot for $19 AND THAT INCLUDES THE MARKUP?

 

And the Japanese phones have some new, high-tech device Apple's apparently never heard of called a "micro SD card." If you're not familiar with it, it allows you to put as much RAM as you want in your phone for dirt cheap.

 

The camera in the $200 phone is 8 Megapixels. It does video, and yes, it does the amazingly complex technological feat called "cut and paste."

 

But she's going to splurge and get one for $275 that's unlocked to work in any phone system in the world and includes a really nice video camera. And an adapter, and headphones.

 

And she doesn't have to sign up for a plan, either. She just pays the money and buys the phone. And it comes with a thin-film hypersim that just sits on top of your existing sim so you can go immediately live with your current number.

 

And what about those "plans" that "subsidize" the phones over here? In Japan, she could get an unliimited voice and text plan for 980 Yen - about 10 dollars. And for $30 - the price of her current data plan - she could get an "all you could eat" plan for data, text, voice, etc.

 

Oh yes, and the Japanese phone includes a GPS and MP3/AAC player, of course. So what can't it do? Text messaging, because of the Japanese character set ALTHOUGH you can specify English as the default language in settings.

 

She is now extremely happy Apple/AT&T treated her the way she did. She'll get a phone that outperforms a $299/$700 phone in all respects except for accessing the app store, and for $275.

 

Keeping fingers crossed...

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Blogga please!

 

I just bought me an iPhone 3GS yesterday that kicks megapixel butt of any Japanese spec fest. I

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So my plan was to get this new iPhone 3GS and retire my original 2G into an iPod.

 

However, as I wrapped up my deactivated 2G today, I kind of got the feeling that I wouldn't use it again, even as an iPod. I mean, if I have the new iPhone, that's what I'd use. When would I use the old one? For a trip to an active volcano spewing caustic clouds that might potentially harm electronics, and I want to listen to music but don't want to be reached by phone? That's the only likely scenario that comes to mind.

 

I guess I could sell my original 2G, but I wouldn't recommend buying it. In light of the cost of phone service, I'm not sure it's worth owning. Also, since the original iPhone has a recessed headphone jack, it requires an adapter to use with many 3rd party headphones. Even giving it away as gift could be viewed as passive aggressive.

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But the iPhone is a computer more than a phone. Components like its CPU, GPU, caches, system memory, microarchitecture, battery life, screen quality and type, operating system, ability to render web pages, ability to interface with external software and hardware (perhaps the most important recent upgrade), all add up to more than how many megapixels its camera has.

 

I've never been one that has wanted to buy into the hand held computer technology whatsoever; not the Blackberries, iPhones, or any other small gadget that would require ONE FINGER AT A TIME manipulation and a magnifying glass to read the text. I like looking at web pages as a full readable window, not a micro mini business card sized screen where a full view would make the content so small that it would become illegible.

 

I prefer to work with keyboards that allow me to utilize typing skills that I learned years ago; 70+ wpm will get you around pretty fast whenever using a standard sized keypad. Unless I adopted the use of a voice recognition program and took the time to train it thoroughly, trying to type text messages or interact in web based discussions (especially work related) would become infuriating to me. It annoys me whenever I have to fax a copy of a document using the office printers that require single digit/character entry, while having to lock the shift button to alternate between upper and lower cased characters that are not letters or numbers.

 

I've been working with "touch" screens for longer than the iPhone was even an idea in the back any Apple R&D rep's mind and they SUCK; especially whenever you are trying to work on one during a crisis situation where every split second counts. Fingers can become very cumbersome whenever you are trying to punch tiny buttons in a hurry.

 

I would much prefer the use of a laptop or a desktop to a hand held or palm pilot. That's just me. I'm not saying that small gadgets that store a lot of data are bad, not at all, I'm just not attracted to the hand held computers that require punching buttons. My daughter makes me dizzy in the way she whizzes through text messaging.

 

I just see hand held texting devices as becoming a health issue under long term use of such device. Maybe not, but I can't see how one can continually curl three fingers under while typing or screen touching with one single finger and it be ergonomically healthy under prolonged use of such habits. I'm not a doctor, but I'm old enough to know how repetitious use of the hands has a tendency to bring about adverse medical conditions if one doesn't take heed to preventative measures that reduce stress of the tendons.

 

If I want a cool cell phone, I don't need a computer and a long term service contract. There are thousands of functional items that will do the trick. If I want a camera, I'll buy a nice high quality camera. If I want an mp3 player, I'll buy an mp3 player. I'm not into the all-in-wONEders.

 

I'm with Craig on Apple's neglect to nurture a loyal customer base. If you don't take care of existing customers and offer them some sort of incentive by rewarding them for their loyalty; you give them nothing to hang around for. When those very same customers who paid the higher prices initially that provided a substantial base to allow for R&D and mass production continue to pay higher rates, while newcomers are being invited in for pennies on the dollar to get the same service and/or technology; what's to keep them around? What's to say the same thing will not happen every time a new product is introduced.

 

Maybe if EVERYONE were to wait for the better deals, knowing the price will come down substantially whenever mass production begins, no one would be able to jump on the band wagon and get the lower prices because the company would go belly up because NO ONE wanted to be the sucker footing the bill to build the foundation. Even after a foundation has been built; if you don't maintain it, the structure will eventually collapse.

 

There will be a lot of fly-by-night one time users that will grab onto the great deals, but those that help build a company's reputation from the ground up by supplying continual and loyal support in buying unproven technologies will not forget how they were treated the next time around. Many will move on and boycott all else that becomes of the company who burned them.

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I just talked with AT&T today. I'm just over the two year line with the upgrade so I can get a decent price. 1st gen iPhones seem to get up to $200 because they are easier to unlock for international use. You may find one there Craig.

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