Stop-Gap Iphone
March 25, 2013 7:24 PM   Subscribe

Help me figure out a stop-gap iPhone to tide me over until iPhone 5S comes out.

I'm out of contract on my iPhone. I intend to buy the 5S, subsidized on contract, when it comes out later this year, but i can't wait, because my iPhone 4 is driving me crazy. I need Siri, and I definitely need a faster processor ASAP.

iPhone 4S would do me just fine for the interim, but they're only sold new at the lowest storage size. No good. So I'm thinking of buying either an unlocked 4S on eBay or else an unlocked 5 from Apple. Then resell when 5S comes out.

I don't mind losing some money between my purchase and sale price, because, again, the 4's got to go. Does anyone see potential pitfalls in this plan?

Note: I do not want to buy a 5 on contract now. This is not an arguable point; please accept as a "given" for purposes of this thread that I will be getting a 5S.
posted by Quisp Lover to Shopping (15 answers total)
 
If you want to get a sense for how much money you'll be able to recoup when it comes time to sell your interim phone, you could compare the prices paid by Gazelle for used iPhones with the prices that Gazelle charges for used iPhones.
posted by alms at 7:37 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


alms - but, of course, the worth of used 4S and 5 will plunge when 5S is announced. I'm surely not the only one trading up.

OTOH, I'll be buying my 5S on subsidy, which will leave me ahead no matter what (I'm supposing I'll sell my 4S/5 for well over $200!).

Also, if I jailbreak the phone, I may get more for it on eBay. That always seems to add surprisingly extra value. I guess most buyers aren't real geeky.
posted by Quisp Lover at 7:41 PM on March 25, 2013


Have you ever actually used Siri? She's not all that great. I am not arguing that the 5S will be cool, but the 4S is not worth it just for Siri. I didn't notice much of a power/speed upgrade when I went from 4 to 4S, FWIW.
posted by radioamy at 7:45 PM on March 25, 2013


I have SIRI on my ipad, and find it extremely useful (though I do understand why it falls short of other people's expectations).

And I've used other people's 4S, and been a lot happier than the speed of the 4. But that stuff is, admittedly, very subjective.
posted by Quisp Lover at 7:51 PM on March 25, 2013


I think the 4S is the preferred phone right now for folks who have lots of 30-pin devices. And, as you note, unless you live completely in the cloud, new is not an option due to basically zero free space (neither is refurb; I believe all the refurb devices get used for AppleCare replacements).

So, yep, I got an unlocked white 32GB 4S on eBay for $450 in near-new condition. Amazon was a little cheaper, Craigslist slightly cheaper than that. Dual core is great if you multi-task, though I admit I've never heard of anyone who says "Ohmigod, I can't live without Siri."
posted by wnissen at 7:55 PM on March 25, 2013


That sounds just about right. Can't believe it'll be way, way less than $450 when reselling later this summer.


"I admit I've never heard of anyone who says "Ohmigod, I can't live without Siri."

You must not have a lot of friend who drive. Just for that alone, Siri's a near-must.

....or live in a cold climate, where you want to keep your fingers gloved as much as possible.
posted by Quisp Lover at 8:11 PM on March 25, 2013


Have you checked out the newest Samsung phone? It has something like Siri and allows you to manipulate the surface without touching it. Perfect for cold weather.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:17 PM on March 25, 2013


I'm an Apple loyalist, but have to admit the new Samsung phones look great.

But I'm just too deeply in the Apple eco-system. And it works ok for me. And I'm real real familiar with them.
posted by Quisp Lover at 8:21 PM on March 25, 2013


There are no real pitfalls to your plan. Unlike Samsung, et al., the gear you buy from Apple has resale value. So if you don't mind taking a small hit on reselling your phone, then you'll be in good shape to buy a 5S later in the year.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:54 PM on March 25, 2013


Yeah.

I'm figuring that by selling my iphone 4, for circa $300, and getting my iphone 5S for $200 subsidized, even if I lose $75 on depreciation of the stop-gap phone, I'll still wind up $25 ahead at the end of it all.
posted by Quisp Lover at 11:11 PM on March 25, 2013


I'm figuring that by selling my iphone 4, for circa $300, and getting my iphone 5S for $200 subsidized, even if I lose $75 on depreciation of the stop-gap phone, I'll still wind up $25 ahead at the end of it all.

These are two separate transactions -- buying and selling the stop-gap phone has nothing to do with your subsidy for staying on a contract plan.

I also don't think that you are going to get $300 for an iPhone 4. I've been pricing them because I'm going to sell mine soon, and they're going for around $150-250, depending on carrier and capacity. And you mentioned selling it on eBay, which takes about 15% of the sale price for itself and Paypal.
posted by payoto at 4:58 AM on March 26, 2013


I also don't think that you are going to get $300 for an iPhone 4.

I have no idea how much you'll get for your iPhone 4. I agreed to sell my iPhone 4 when I upgraded to the 5 to gazelle for 50 bucks. I thought I might be able to get a little more, but didn't want the hassle. The back of the phone was completely shattered. After sending it end I got an email that said the phone arrived 'better than expected' and gave me 150.00. It would seem that an iPhone in good condition would be worth more than one shattered, but I have no idea how much.

I have Siri, never used it.
posted by epo


So what? The OP already said he found it useful.

I told myself I wouldn't be using Siri, and now I couldn't imagine my iPhone without it. Yeah, I could do without it, but not if I can help it. I would say even after the newness wore off I use it 5-20 times a day. Congrats on not using it. That doesn't mean others don't find it pretty damn handy.
posted by justgary at 5:47 AM on March 26, 2013


"These are two separate transactions -- buying and selling the stop-gap phone has nothing to do with your subsidy for staying on a contract plan."

The point of similarity between the two transactions is that they'll both affect my bank balance. Which, to me, is significant.


"I've been pricing them because I'm going to sell mine soon, and they're going for around $150-250"

Recently completed eBay sales of 32g (middle capacity) 4 are right at $300, minus 15% is $265 (so your range is wrong). Plus, as I said above, jailbreaking will bring a higher price. So I'll get close to $300.


So what? The OP already said he found it useful.

"Ask MetaFilter: for scratching away at the basis of life's little questions".
posted by Quisp Lover at 8:27 AM on March 26, 2013


Recently completed eBay sales of 32g (middle capacity) 4 are right at $300, minus 15% is $265 (so your range is wrong).

I'm not sure why the hostile tone when I was only trying to point out a "potential pitfall" in the plan as requested, but in any event 85% of $300 is $255, so my range was only $5 off.
posted by payoto at 9:49 AM on March 26, 2013


Didn't intend it as hostile. Thanks for posting.

Your range was for all iphone 4s. It was short for the middle capacity 4, and quite short for the higher capacity one. And it doesn't take into account the value bump of jailbreaking.

I'm not trying to rebuke you, just correct the error for the benefit of others who may make use of this thread
posted by Quisp Lover at 11:43 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


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