iPhone Insanity

Chicago Public Radio is wrapping up their fiscal year with what is quite possibly the world’s longest pledge drive. Obviously, they are running a tad short this year and so they decided to move up the pledge drive for next year and lengthen it to get a little extra to cover this year.

In itself, this is nothing too terribly surprising. But today they rolled out something extra special – they are giving away an iPhone every hour to someone who has pledged today. This is a brilliant idea – not only does it incite people to pledge on the last day of the drive, but it also gets people who have already given to call back and pledge more money in order to get into the drawing (since only people who pledge today are included in the drawings). Of course, this was enough of an incentive for me to give a little extra, even through my membership isn’t due for renewal until the fall.

Note that I’m not really interested in getting an iPhone just yet. This is mostly because of the unwritten rule I have about “Never buy a first generation Apple Product”*. But it’s also due to the fact that the iPhone is currently set up to work only with AT&T’s EDGE data network, which operates at much slower speeds than pretty much every other carrier’s network. Plus, even though AT&T is working on upgrading their data network, by the time that is done their network will run on a completely different standard that is not backward-compatible with the iPhones hitting the streets today**. By that time, Apple will have the 2nd generation phone available that will be compatible with AT&T’s new network, but it’ll probably also be past the point of network exclusivity, so then you’ll see iPhones rolling out for your Verizon, Sprint, or T-Mobile networks in addition to AT&T, so why switch?

At this point, you might be asking yourself "Fine Grrrbear, but why did you pledge again in order to get entered in the drawing if you're not interested in getting an iPhone?" Simple – arbitrage, baby! I figure that since iPhones are selling on eBay for $1000 at a pop it can’t hurt to try and win one that I can then resell right away. But when I was researching that information I saw an even more crazy aspect of the current iPhone-mania: all the twits on eBay trying to sell iPhone-related URLs for absurdly-high prices. For example, check out the following auctions for these URLs on eBay right now:

  • www.see-iPhones.com – One of the bargains out there right now at only $995, but (and here I quote the seller) it’s “Worth over 1,000,000.00 in my mind”. Of course, the picture of the Hooters girl is a small bonus…
  • iPhone-4u.com – Best of all with this one you also get seven other equally crappy URLs all bundled into one package o’crap for less than $4000! Well, one cent less than $4000 but still!
  • iPhone-usa.com – Only $25 thousand dollars for this one
  • ticklemeiphone.com – This last one is the absolute worst. Seriously? You expect me to pay $50 grand for a name as stupid as “ticklemeiphone.com”? Are you five years old?
And don’t even get me started on all the morons selling iPhone-related yahoo-email accounts. Urgh…it’s all too much stupidity for my brain to handle…

* Because the 2nd generation is usually so much better
** See my rule above.


J.Po said…
I just donated to your local public radio station - after a mini-guilt trip during a This American Life podcast. Come to think of it, maybe I just donated directly to TAL, which was my goal, really.

Is that I. Glass pulling his weight during the pledge drive?
towwas said…
Not an unwritten rule any longer, is it?
Spice said…
I fell for the Ira Glass plea as well! How could one resist that reasonable plea for $1 or $5 to help pay for the free podcast?!?
J-Vo said…
I feel like I don't live up to my OAM alumni status b/c I don't listen to NPR. Or PR, for that matter. Sigh.
grrrbear said…
Oddly enough, I didn't listen to it until well after I left OAM. I was just tired of listening to all the commercials on my way to work in the morning.