How much would you pay for an iPhone 6? Right now there’s an iPhone 6 on eBay selling for about $95,000 (as of 12pm ET) with three days left in the auction. It may not be made of gold, but this iPhone is running special developer software making it worth a mother lode of money.
More than 10 million iPhones have been sold since the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launched in September. While most owners received an average, run-of-the-mill iPhone 6, one Verizon customer received the wrong device. Rather than receive a 64GB iPhone 6, they instead received an internal version of the device, likely only meant for Apple’s development team. As the photos show, this device looks like any other iPhone 6, except for the red connector port at the bottom.
When you turn the device on, you don’t get the typical home screen as seen on iOS 8. Instead, users are shown a special mode called Switchboard OS. Switchboard is what Apple uses to test the hardware functionality on developer or test units, as well as for additional diagnostics tools. The screen is defined by a black background, strangely named apps and icons, as well as missing most of the typical iOS 8 features. It also reveals that Apple’s developers have a sense of humor, showing an icon for a box of Cheerios for the “serial number” app as a pun on the name.
It’s clear though that this particular iPhone 6 was never meant to be sold. On the device’s backplate the seller notes how it lacks any FCC regulatory markings, as well as Apple’s own internal information such as a serial number and model number. The user confirms the device is indeed a 64GB developer unit, calling it a “prototype” and explaining that iTunes also recognizes it as an iPhone. Rather than keep it, the user has thrown it up on eBay. It’s often a big no-no to sell a phone you just got from a carrier, though we don’t know if the user bought this iPhone on a contract or paid in full.
There are a number of reasons this iPhone 6 is selling for so much on eBay. With direct access to the developer mode and the iPhone’s console system, a capable coder could use the access to find potential exploits within the device. These exploits could be used to fuel future jailbreaks, or also offer malicious people ways to gain unauthorized access to iPhones around the world. This makes it a very valuable commodity to those who know what they would do if they had an iPhone with developer software included.
This isn’t the first time a device has been spotted outside Apple’s labs featuring Switchboard OS. An iPhone 4, iPad 2 and various iPods have all been spotted in the wild running Switchboard OS instead of the proper, final version of iOS. When Apple found out about those listings, it got eBay to shut down the auction.
As for this (very) expensive iPhone, we’ll have to wait and see what Apple or eBay do about it, as well as what the owner will do if the auction is pulled.