Cashing In on iPhone 4 Mania - TheStreet

Thousands of people have been patiently waiting for this day. Finally, the highly anticipated iPhone 4 is available to the public. But Apple (Stock Quote: AAPL) isn’t the only party that will make money off of the iPhone 4’s release; some industrious people have their own money-making schemes in place to cash in on the tech craze.

Take Joe Sabia, the 26-year-old California resident who waited in front of a San Francisco Apple store for three days and three nights … just so he could sell his first spot in line on Twitter. According to, Sabia ended up getting $400 for his stint as a place holder and his own (essentially free) iPhone 4, which he snagged later in the day.

Sabia’s stint is not the first time an Apple patron has profited from being at the head of the line. Back in 2007, when the original iPhone was released, Texas resident Mark Rebillet sold his first-place spot to a Dallas woman for $800.

Rebillet, for his part, had no intention on cashing in. He had showed up to his local AT&T (Stock Quote: T) store at 6 a.m. because he had wanted a phone for himself. It was the woman (who somehow managed to remain nameless, despite the entire episode being caught on videotape) that wanted to buy $100,000 worth of iPhones. Her money-making scheme involved selling the iPhones on eBay for more than the retail price.

Too bad she didn’t pay attention to the rules.  AT&T had instituted a one-phone-per-customer policy. Rebillet, like Sabia, scored his own iPhone that day, plus some extra spending money. The woman just ended up with egg on her face.
While that particular Dallas woman may have failed to make some money off of eBay sales, it is fairly common for owners to sell iPhones on the auction site for more than what they paid. For example, this eBay listing shows one North Carolina resident selling a pre-ordered iPhone 4 for $1,750.  Perhaps inspired by this sale, another eBay user put an iPhone up on the site with a $5,000 asking price.

While individuals can undoubtedly find ways to cash in, companies are also finding ways to milk Apple’s cash cow. Scosche, Zagg and Case-mate are just some of the manufacturers who have launched new iPhone accessories in conjunction with the iPhone 4’s release.  Independent warranty provider SquareTrade makes money by selling alternate iPhone insurance on its Web site as well.

Of course, you could argue that Gizmodo was the first to company (before Apple, even) to actually profit from the iPhone 4 when it procured a secret prototype back in April. The Web site enjoyed four times its normal traffic (and plenty of publicity) when it published photos and articles about the purported iPhone 4, purchased for $5,000 after an Apple employee left it in a bar. However, seeing as local authorities have considered pressing criminal charges against Gizmodo owner Nick Denton and editor Jason Chen, that money-making scheme may be as misguided as that Dallas woman’s ill-fated plans from 2007.    

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