Vintage: 2001 (iPod), 2007 (iPhone), 2010 (iPad)
Original prices: $399 (iPod); $499 for 4GB, $599 for 8GB (iPhone); $499 for 16GB, $599 for 32GB, $699 for 64GB (iPad)
High, unopened-box prices on eBay: $4800 for a 5GB iPod, $4000 for a 4GB iPhone, $343 for a 16GB iPad
Disruptive technologies change history, and the original iPod, iPhone, and iPad are already collectible. The classic iPod put a thousand songs in your pocket and upended the music industry. The iPhone sent the “CrackBerry” on a downward spiral, kicked off the apps economy, and ended up in the pocket of every other middle-schooler. The iPad is arguably reinventing the concept of personal computing.
Apple’s mobile tools retain value better than most other brands do, so you’re almost always better off trying to sell than to recycle. However, Griffith of eBay notes that the desirability is likely to change as such products become less current. True collectibility is best measured after a product is no longer functional by current standards.