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AT&T says original iPhones can be deactivated and used as WiFi iPods

post #1 of 78
Thread Starter 
Original iPhone owners who prefer not to give away or sell their old iPhones after upgrading to an iPhone 3G can instead keep their devices and use them as WiFi-enabled iPods, AT&T has confirmed.

The exclusive US provider for the Apple handset issued a series of documents and videos this week instructing existing iPhone owners on the steps necessary to hand down their old phones to family members or friends after purchasing a new 3G model.

Although that's the route AT&T prefers, as it generates high margin service revenues for each additional iPhone on its network, it's not the only option owners have.

A spokesperson for the carrier confirmed to AppleInsider that neither AT&T nor Apple will prevent de-activated first-generation iPhones for serving as surrogate iPod touches.

"If the [original] device is not re-activated as a wireless phone after youve upgraded to iPhone 3G, it will still work as an iTunes player and can access Wi-Fi," the spokesperson said.

That means old iPhones can still surf the web, check email, and browse the mobile iTunes store when connected to WiFi. Additionally, they'll be able to function as a handheld gaming device and widescreen video iPod with calendar and photo functions.

It's recommended that owners who take this approach upgrade their original iPhones with iPhone Software v2.0 (which includes the App Store) on July 11th prior to de-activating the devices, as it's unclear whether upgrades to non-active handsets will be possible.
post #2 of 78
What?

I can use my $500 iPhone as an iPod Touch that sells for $300?!

Wow!! Thanks Apple! That's a terrific idea!

post #3 of 78
Yeah man....dont do us any special favors.....WTF
post #4 of 78
Last time I checked the iPod Touch didn't have a speaker. Hello $200 speaker! I know some iPod Touch owners who'd kill for that. In fact my friend Kenny killed over that 5 min ago when learning of this.
post #5 of 78
So once you've upgraded to a 3g Iphone, you no longer have the ability to swap the SIM between your your old phone and the new one? The upgrade renders your 1st gen useless as a calling device?? WTF??
post #6 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by qwen3579 View Post

What?

I can use my $500 iPhone as an iPod Touch that sells for $300?!

Wow!! Thanks Apple! That's a terrific idea!


Um, Apple just handed the best deal for owners of a year-old technology I've ever seen in tech.
Original iPhone owners can now sell their old iPhones (now a touch with camera and speaker) at a really good price. Name another year-old technology that will have held its value that much.
post #7 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boogerman2000 View Post

So once you've upgraded to a 3g Iphone, you no longer have the ability to swap the SIM between your your old phone and the new one? The upgrade renders your 1st gen useless as a calling device?? WTF??

I don't see where the article says that at all. The context is for orig iPhone owners who choose NOT to re-activate.
post #8 of 78
AT&T really are being impressively shameless here - they don't even have the decency to throw you guys an unlock code? Sometimes I can only thank God for [slightly] more comprehensive European consumer protection rights - I don't see the same game cutting the mustard most places over here...

To all stuck in this position, once your warranty is up anyway surely you'd be mad not to jailbreak and unlock? It really is painless...

And it should be stressed, it is not illegal, it merely voids a possibly already expired warranty.
post #9 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by qwen3579 View Post

What?

I can use my $500 iPhone as an iPod Touch that sells for $300?!

Wow!! Thanks Apple! That's a terrific idea!


I'm not quite sure what you're complaining about. You can use your old iPhone any way you want. As a phone, as an iPod, as a paperweight, or as a doorstop. You can keep it, give it away, sell it, or flush it down the toilet. It's entirely up to you. It's probably worth less now than it was new, but how is that different from any other piece of one-year old, used electronic equipment?
post #10 of 78
Well AT&T says its ok to do so...... That makes it all better. AT&T - FTW!
post #11 of 78
Seems like the first issue to think about is when and if you can get 3G service in your primary hunting grounds. I live just south of Santa Rosa California. Looks like I am 5 to 8 miles out of the service area.

Also, I have not read anywhere, will the 3G phone work on the old Edge data network?

Barry Gamble
post #12 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhowarth View Post

I'm not quite sure what you're complaining about. You can use your old iPhone any way you want. As a phone, as an iPod, as a paperweight, or as a doorstop. You can keep it, give it away, sell it, or flush it down the toilet. It's entirely up to you. It's probably worth less now than it was new, but how is that different from any other piece of one-year old, used electronic equipment?

I wasn't trying to say that this was the ONLY option, I just thought it was an CRAZY option thrown out there by Apple. I fully intend on selling mine on eBay (where they currently fetch $200-$300) where buyers who have other carriers buy them up like crazy.
post #13 of 78
Why not just sell it off?

I unloaded my one-year-old iPhone on the Argentine eBay variant couple of weeks ago for $400.

Don't expect the second-hand price to drop substantially past July 11th as the non-contract iPhone 3G will still command over $500.
post #14 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by magicgumdrop View Post

AT&T really are being impressively shameless here - they don't even have the decency to throw you guys an unlock code? Sometimes I can only thank God for [slightly] more comprehensive European consumer protection rights - I don't see the same game cutting the mustard most places over here...

To all stuck in this position, once your warranty is up anyway surely you'd be mad not to jailbreak and unlock? It really is painless...

And it should be stressed, it is not illegal, it merely voids a possibly already expired warranty.

I think that remains to be seen. Typically, once you are off contract it's much easier to get the unlock code. In some areas, I believe they are required to provide it when asked once the contract term is up. Since no iPhone has yet to come off contract (and I've not heard of anyone paying the early termination fee), do we know what ATT's policy is going to be?

I guess we'll find out soon enough as people upgrade and start asking for the unlock code. (Then again, does the iPhone even use an unlock code in the usual sense?)
post #15 of 78
Guess once it's deactivated they plan to start (over)charging you for future software updates like iPod touch users.
post #16 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronart View Post

Seems like the first issue to think about is when and if you can get 3G service in your primary hunting grounds. I live just south of Santa Rosa California. Looks like I am 5 to 8 miles out of the service area.

Also, I have not read anywhere, will the 3G phone work on the old Edge data network?

Barry Gamble

Yup, if the phone can't find a 3G signal it should default back down to the EDGE network
post #17 of 78
Thank you ATT for finally answering the question Ive been asking for a month
post #18 of 78
Not sure that this is really even news... Cancelled a contract on an iPhone a couple months back and it worked as stated. This isn't a change in their policy, just them pointing it out.
post #19 of 78
Unbelievable deal.

If you live in an area with well-saturated wifi, just run SIP-VoIP and have a nice little device for a shell of what a traditionally "functional" one would cost you.
post #20 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post

Not sure that this is really even news... Cancelled a contract on an iPhone a couple months back and it worked as stated. This isn't a change in their policy, just them pointing it out.

It's interesting though from the point of view of the market.

What this says to me is that if the market is going to be flooded with "surrogate" iPod touch's that are actually better than the one Apple (currently) makes, that the new refreshed iPod touch in September will likely have a camera and speaker just to keep up.

This seems like Apple's only remaining plan to topple the cell phone monopolies and their control of the market, by pushing WiFi as it's replacement and allowing people to manoeuvre around the prohibitive contracts with technology. If they give up on that, they have more or less given up on doing anything interesting or new with this market at all.

Apple is lucky that the iPhone hasn't cannibalised the iPod market *too* much, and was careful to not let the original touch cannibalise iPhone sales, but they need to bring the touch more in line with the iPhone now or lose the market segment for the touch altogether. I bet in less than two months we see a much more capable iPod touch, as well as a nano touch or nano iPhone as Apple moves into the market with a vengeance.
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post #21 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacVicta View Post

Guess once it's deactivated they plan to start (over)charging you for future software updates like iPod touch users.

You are most likely correct. The article is fairly silly aside from the VERY important last point it makes, which is that you need to go to software update 2.0 BEFORE you iTouch your phone.
post #22 of 78
THis is AWESOME news i think.

IF you can use the iphone as a wifi ipod...WITHOUT the expensive ATT 2 year contract, then you CAN use it as a VOiP phone with services like SKYPE or YAHOO VOICE right?

I use Yahoo voice on my laptop, and it's GREAT. The rates are SUPER cheap, and you're not locked in....and you can call others users for FREE and internationally to phones for 1 or 2 cents a minute.

Also I heard that ATT will soon release a 3G pay as you go iphone...which means that you could choose NOT to pay and your 3G iphone would in fact become a WiFi ipod as well...which you could use as a SKYPE or YAHOO VOICE VOiP phone too. heh heh heh.

Me likey! :-)
post #23 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronart View Post

Also, I have not read anywhere, will the 3G phone work on the old Edge data network?

To put your fears to rest, there has been official information release (I believe within the 'iphone 3g tour' that lets explains that the phone auto defaults to the highest setting it can use (EDGE, 3G, WIFI).
post #24 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

I don't see where the article says that at all. The context is for orig iPhone owners who choose NOT to re-activate.

I think this kind of person might as well re-sell it. It's worth more as money than it is as a backup device. 1st Gen 8GB iPhones are going for $450 last I checked, a replacement iPhone 3G would be $399. So, sell it now, save the money, and if you need to replace it, you have the money for a new one.

There are some exceptions, like if you want to go overseas, then the old one can still be cracked and used with an overseas SIM. Another exception might be if you absolutely have to have a backup unit that the time to go and buy a replacement is a problem.
post #25 of 78
wow. when I first read this I thought I had accidentally clicked on the link for the onion feed.
post #26 of 78
We seem to forget that an inactivated iPhone is a WiFi-enabled iPod touch . . . with a crappy camera!

All kidding aside, the cheapest option for existing iPhone owners is KEEP YOUR OLD iPHONE!

Paying an extra $10/mo. for data that comes to you 3x faster seems worth it. I'd like to do some real world testing to compare my SexyBack (my new nickname for my 1G iPhone with the sensuous aluminum back) to one of my early adopter friend's 3G to see the real speed difference between the networks.

It's the SMS surcharge that pisses me off. I don't use SMS much, but I don't use it not at all (intentional double negative for emphasis). Between that screwing and the non-improvement of the camera is compelling me to take a pass on this incarnation of the superPhone.
post #27 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by noriyori View Post

wow. when I first read this I thought I had accidentally clicked on the link for the onion feed.

The Onion story said you could use a deactivated first-gen iPhone as a Zune!
post #28 of 78
I'm glad there's at least been an announcement about what will happen with 1st gen iPhones if people do upgrade and decide to keep the first edition lying around. They still haven't said the unlock word though.
post #29 of 78
Look, I am no fan of the telcos, but I find the vitriol directed at ATT (and Apple) in many comments above to be over-the-top and a tad immature.

Do you have the right to own the new version of any piece of hardware? Who says you have to upgrade? Why the heck did you buy your iPhoneV1 then?
post #30 of 78
Yeah, for all the "WTF AT&T'ers" out there, when was the last time your old cellphone had any use whatsoever?!?!

Just like most Apple products the resale value is strong and people will use them for almost twice as long as other makers.

I'd love to switch to SKYPE, I hope whomever gets this to work posts it on one of these forums rather than some obscure hacker site.
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post #31 of 78
Don't forget that an unactivated phone can still call '911.'
post #32 of 78
Well… if I can use a one-year-old iPhone as an iPod Touch, does that mean I could -- in theory -- purchase a new 3G iPhone for $199, not activate it, and use it as an iPod Touch, thus saving $100?
post #33 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by macFanDave View Post

The Onion story said you could use a deactivated first-gen iPhone as a Zune!

LOLZ!

I just wish the 3G had some of these features...http://www.theonion.com/content/info...les_new_iphone
post #34 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elijah M View Post

Well if I can use a one-year-old iPhone as an iPod Touch, does that mean I could -- in theory -- purchase a new 3G iPhone for $199, not activate it, and use it as an iPod Touch, thus saving $100?

No, contracts have to be signed at the moment of purchase...and so do the payments. You don't have to activate it, but you'll still be paying $70+ a month for it.
post #35 of 78
The unbelievable arrogance of AT&T here is truly beyond any sane, non-obscene response.

Where do they come off, INFORMING people that they're "allowed" to use the retired iPhone as a non-phone device? We need to be TOLD this? And who the hell is AT&T but a big, uncreative, slovenly -- and I might add, phone-tapping -- leech, sucking off Apple's hard work and creativity?

Not that Apple's been conducting itself flawlessly in all this, either. Their continued head-in-the-sand (I could say elsewhere) attitude toward the very CONCEPT of a phone being unlocked is winning them no friends.

It's enough for me to go around offering free unlocking to iPhone users -- "retired" phone or not -- just on principle. Come join me and my unlocked iPhone on T-Mobile. You might get screwed by them, too, but it's a lot less painful, it costs less, and (as far as we know) you're not giving money to a (more-than-normal) criminal corporation that shucks and jives for the NSA at the drop of a hat.



Like I said . . . I'm refraining from expressing the REAL rage . . .
post #36 of 78
If anyone wants to get rid of their old iphone after they get their new 3G beauty, let me know. I am interested in picking one of these discarded bad boys up.
post #37 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by CommonSense View Post

The unbelievable arrogance of AT&T here is truly beyond any sane, non-obscene response.

Where do they come off, INFORMING people that they're "allowed" to use the retired iPhone as a non-phone device? We need to be TOLD this? And who the hell is AT&T but a big, uncreative, slovenly -- and I might add, phone-tapping -- leech, sucking off Apple's hard work and creativity?

Not that Apple's been conducting itself flawlessly in all this, either. Their continued head-in-the-sand (I could say elsewhere) attitude toward the very CONCEPT of a phone being unlocked is winning them no friends.

It's enough for me to go around offering free unlocking to iPhone users -- "retired" phone or not -- just on principle. Come join me and my unlocked iPhone on T-Mobile. You might get screwed by them, too, but it's a lot less painful, it costs less, and (as far as we know) you're not giving money to a (more-than-normal) criminal corporation that shucks and jives for the NSA at the drop of a hat.



Like I said . . . I'm refraining from expressing the REAL rage . . .

Jeez, dude...
With everything from the war, to gas prices, to global warming, to the dismantling of our constitution, and THIS is what you choose to top your 'things to be really really angry about' list?
Talk about 'head-in-the-sand'.
post #38 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhowarth View Post

I'm not quite sure what you're complaining about. You can use your old iPhone any way you want. As a phone, as an iPod, as a paperweight, or as a doorstop. You can keep it, give it away, sell it, or flush it down the toilet. It's entirely up to you. It's probably worth less now than it was new, but how is that different from any other piece of one-year old, used electronic equipment?

But there's no pony!

If Apple and AT&T weren't evil selfish bastards, they would buy every upgrader a pony!

It's amazing the sense of entitlement some people have today.
post #39 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

Jeez, dude...
With everything from the war, to gas prices, to global warming, to the dismantling of our constitution, and THIS is what you choose to top your 'things to be really really angry about' list?
Talk about 'head-in-the-sand'.

Well, given that my original intent with boycotting AT&T has to do with their involvement in warrantless wiretapping, which ties into the whole "our freedoms are all going down the toilet" theme, I'd say it stems from a pretty valid reason.

Also, please show me where I implied that this is at the top of my list of things to be angry about. Or where it's stated that one can only be mad about one thing at any one time. Thanks.
post #40 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronart View Post

Seems like the first issue to think about is when and if you can get 3G service in your primary hunting grounds. I live just south of Santa Rosa California. Looks like I am 5 to 8 miles out of the service area.

Also, I have not read anywhere, will the 3G phone work on the old Edge data network?

Barry Gamble

iPhone 3G works just fine on EDGE.
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