Unlike Owen, who lost the use of his iPhone by following the explicit directions of a support representative, I lost the use of my iPhone when it slipped from my fingers and landed squarely face down in a parking lot. The glass shattered pretty spectacularly. The phone still works, interestingly, but I'm afraid of the lacerations I might get just trying to unlock it.
I didn't have insurance on this phone, so the full-cost replacement would have been close to $700. No phone is worth that much money. I hemmed and hawed a bit, trying to decide if I should just downgrade to a flip phone and give up smartphones. I finally decided not to go the flip phone route.
Instead, I searched Craigslist for a suitable replacement. I found considerably more than I expected, with prices ranging from $250 to $500. Some of these postings suggested less than reputable provenance for the phones in question, so it was with some anxiety that I called one of the sellers to ask about his reasonably priced white iPhone 4. The story he told me was if not legit at least sufficiently well rehearsed as to sound fairly convincing, so I agreed to meet him in a parking lot to buy his phone.
It was a mildly surreal experience to buy a used iPhone from a college kid in a parking lot in the mideast United States. It felt like something out of a William Gibson novel. A quick inspection of the phone suggested that it was fully functional, so I gave the kid cash. I didn't haggle, as haggling has always proven to be a waste of my time: some people are good at it, indeed enjoy it, but it always just makes me grumpy and sullen.
So late yesterday afternoon my replacement iPhone was activated without incident. Indeed, everything seems to be working just fine.
Now I need to buy a screen replacement kit for my old phone, so that I can try to resurrect it. Assuming I'm successful in that endeavour, I'll then have two iPhone 4s I can sell to fund the purchase of the iPhone 5 that is being released next week.