- Someone from the US just bought an original, first-generation iPhone for R1 148 974, or $63 356.40.
- The device was first introduced by Steve Jobs in 2007 at the now-famous MacWorld presentation in San Francisco.
- The never-opened device doesn’t have an App Store and it only has 128MB of RAM.
Would you buy a smartphone with 4GB of storage space, 128MB of RAM, a 2-megapixel camera, and one that could only run 2G internet for R1 148 974? What if it was a mint-condition first-generation iPhone?
Well someone did, according to an online auction for an “Original 2007 Apple iPhone Factory Sealed (First Release).” LCG Auctions sold the device, still in its plastic wrapping, for $63 356.40, with the starting bid at R2 500. In 2007, the device would have cost around $599.
Private bidders had been waging a war of monies for the device since the beginning of February, with the winning bid issued on 19th February.
Below the auction options is a rundown of the device, which gives insight into why someone would fork out a million Rand for a piece of vestigial tech.
“One of the most important and ubiquitous inventions of our lifetime, the iPhone was first introduced by Steve Jobs on January 9, 2007 at MacWorld San Francisco,” it reads.
“It quickly became Apple’s most successful product, forever changed the smartphone industry, and was named the Time Magazine Invention of the Year in 2007.”
The device is intrinsically linked to Jobs, just like the iPod. The MacWorld presentation has over 40 million views on YouTube, and did indeed change the world, for better or worse.
The presentation is iconic at this point, with Jobs-in-black-turtleneck announcing the launch of three products, first a “widescreen iPod with touch controls,” second is a “revolutionary mobile phone,” and the third is a “breakthrough internet communications device.”
He then unveils that all three products can be found within a single iPhone to rampant cheers. “This is one device,” he says. “Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone.”
Since then, the iPhone is nearing its 15th incarnation from a very different Apple than the one found in 2007. The devices have changed the way humans communicate, work, make payments, and organise their lives. The first iPhone inspires every smartphone that has come after it, from Samsung to Huawei.
Flip phones, video cameras, and MP3 players, among other devices, were soon made redundant by the iPhone.
According to CNN, who spoke to the auction site, the winner of the device was “an individual from the US” and in total 10 bidders were vying for the iPhone.
At this point, the first-gen iPhone is a collector’s device, it doesn’t even come with an App Store, and it requires a full-size SIM card and not a micro SIM.
Collectors are seemingly willing to spend big on factory-sealed pieces of Apple tech. In 2019, an original iPod was sold at an auction for $19 995. In October last year, LCG Auctions says they sold another factory-sealed original iPhone for $39 000.
Perhaps it is the hope that the items represent that lures would-be collectors and opens their wallets. A time when tech was optimistic, all about the future, and making things easier for people. Not entirely about chasing profits. Jobs’ iPhone presentation is so carefree that it strikes as odd.
He laughs with the audience. There are jokes about the product. It was a different age of consumer tech. A cooler age.
[Image – LCG Auctions]