One of our kind Boston-based hedge-fund contributors files this report:
I did a little lunchtime research to see how the iphone release is going and here are my findings:
AT&T store: Long line of about 30 people at the AT&T store on Boylston, security guard outside, line appeared to be moving a bit slowly and people in line were anxiously asking store folks if they were sold out of any of the memory size/colours yet. Clerk said, “no” but he seemed a little panicked and unconvinced this state would last. Looked as if there were about 10 people in process inside.
Verizon store: No one outside, no one inside. Not too surprising, but sort of my control group.
Flagship Apple store on Boylston: Snaking lines of people in two clumps going around the block, maybe 50-60+ people outside? Lots of people inside. Security guards, employees buzzing about. People sitting on the curb with signs that say, “We will buy your used iPhones from you”. I looked on eBay when I returned, and my old iPhone is going for roughly $350 because it is unlockable.
I saw a guy carrying the new phone and I asked him a few questions:
1. Where he got it: South Boston ATT store
2. How long in line: one hour this morning
3. How long to activate when inside: less than 10-15 minutes, they said he’d receive his first bill in three weeks.
4. Was he happy with the process: yes, quite. They just stuck the thing in a dock, tapped some stuff out, and he was done. Only issue now is that he couldn’t figure out how to download apps from the Apps Store. It asks for an account and he doesn’t know what his acct or password are.
5. Was he an ATT customer before: No, actually didn’t even have a cell phone or an email address before.
If there were no cost to me in terms of time to wait in line, buying a brand new iPhone would be close to a breakeven proposition for me.
$199 cost plus 1 year of higher monthly data fees of $10/month = $320 and I can sell my old phone for $350+, minus shipping and listing/closing fees on eBay.
One thing, though, is that perhaps I’d have to extend my contract an additional 12 mos, which makes this a -$120 deal for a brand new phone. I have a feeling I am allowed to upgrade, w/o an extension, but I am not totally sure.