The latest iPhone is the iPhone 14, launched last September – but it all started back in 2007, and the first Apple smartphones that launched this year are now worth rather more than their initial asking price of $499.
The original unopened iPhone 1 is now put up for auction (opens in a new tab) (By AppleInsider (opens in a new tab)) and is expected to fetch up to $50,000 (or around £41,480 / $72,235 at today’s exchange rate). That’s a nice return on investment after 16 years.
According to the auction, it is “one of the most important and ubiquitous inventions of our lives”, a device that “changed the smartphone industry forever” and is now “widely regarded as the ultimate asset among high-end collectors”. .
The gadget of the century
Auctioneers refer to two previous auctions of similar items that approached the $40,000 mark, and it appears the price is likely to increase over the years. As we write this, the highest bid for the item is over $11,000 and the auction will run until next Thursday.
It’s certainly one of the most important gadgets of the century – perhaps the gadget of the century – but it’s no match for today’s phone: the screen is just 3.5 inches from corner to corner (with a resolution of 480 x 320 pixels), and the maximum capacity is 16GB. There is a single 2MP camera on the back.
Our review of the first iPhone is still available to read online, and while we liked the intuitive interface and “dazzling screen”, we were disappointed by the lack of 3G connectivity (remember that?) and the fixed-focus camera.
Analysis: empty the drawers
Watching the price of the Apple iPhone 1 go up a hundredfold in 16 years shows just how iconic this particular smartphone is – so while it’s worth checking your home drawers for old and vintage tech, don’t expect to make a fortune out of your Google Pixel 2 , for example.
Not only the age is important, but also the manufacturer and the place the device occupies in history when it comes to the valuation of older technology. Collectors seem to love Apple, and you may remember that the Apple-1 computer built by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak fetched a nice $400,000 back in 2021.
Condition is also key – you won’t get as close to your classic devices if you use them for a few years before putting them back in the box. If you plan to enter the long-term tech investment game, keep your electronics in their original packaging.
It’s hard to predict what the next must-have tech collectible might be, but arcade machines and Apple devices are likely to be good bets – if you can afford it, it’s worth having an Apple AR/VR headset or a Nintendo Switch 2 tucked away somewhere if and when in they will run eventually.