Hackit: What To Do With A 1st Gen IPhone?

There’s a new iPhone 3G coming out in July. If that statement shocks you, you might want to check your connection. We love new shiny hardware, but what we’re really interested in is the number of “old” iPhones that are going to be hitting the market. Many people will be ditching their 1st generation iPhones just to get GPS and 3G. This abundance plus the new $200 price tag is bound to depress the price for used phones.

A used 1st generation iPhone is actually a pretty attractive device. It’s already been laid wide open by hackers so you can run pretty much anything you want on it instead of waiting for the App Store to tell you what you can and can’t do. You could use it as a WiFi Voip phone, a simple web pad, run an NES emulator, use it as a musical instrument, or build an army of robots.

What will you do when the price of used iPhones bottoms out?

34 thoughts on “Hackit: What To Do With A 1st Gen IPhone?

  1. I really don’t know what I will do. The low price point would make the first gen iphone a really nice wifi device, which i could use because my current mobiles lack that feature, and iPod Touch prices will still be higher.

  2. Since I don’t really need a 3G phone right now since all I can think it would be useful for is internet and I always carry my EeePC with me for that, and I have a pioneer AVIC on my car that already has GPS. So I might get one to see what all the fuss was about and run some apps that caught my attention.

  3. ah, I’d like to see an frankensteinian iphone with the 160gbytes HD of an ipod :) — it’s really a pity, that you have to decide between the way too small ipod touch/iphone and the way too outdated but big ipod classic…

  4. ok so i’m reading that the 3G iphones are only going to be instore activated.. which i guess means, say goodbye to buying a $200, & jailbreaking it to run on a cheap pre-paid sim.

    Looks like these ‘cheap’ iphones will no doubt come with a much more expensive contract. (@ least in Australia, i’m sure of that, we are notorious for overpriced mobile plans).

  5. i used to hate the iphone till i jailbroke my friends, so i will probably buy a used one for super cheap and jailbreak it and use it as a ipod lol, just dont use the service

  6. does a jailbroken iphone allow you to use the bluetooth hardware as a serial port? it would be cool to use it as a robot control or something. i dont think it does though :(

  7. What would I do? What would I do… Well, there have been a few projects I’ve been wanting to work on regarding touch interfaces over wifi, something like Chris said. Then again, I’ve always wanted to see if I could get Starcraft to work on a touch screen, like my DS, but I’m thinking that this would be easier. Hmmm… Now I may just have to get one.

  8. Uhh, I think it’s gonna be a prime Android target. The IPhone has been the hardware everybody has been using as a measuring stick, and with Android, I think it will be an improvement on what Jobs has out together (like actual MP3 support)

  9. I really wanna take advantage of the iPhone’s serial capability (fully documented online!) and make some nice controller for something. Either a robot controller, or even a datalogger for my car, that would be sweet.

  10. Thats a real simple one. iPhone linux!!!

    Seriously, lets port a decent version of some distro (ubuntu perhaps?) to the iPhone hardware. Its all documented… imagine all the programs available then!!

  11. I’ve been wanting a portable terminal for my bot, that I can use to enter, store and download programs from, a 1st gen iPhone might just be the ticket if I can get one cheap enough, maybe better than a Gameboy even.

  12. I know it’s been jailbroken, but has anybody broken the carrier lock? I have T-Mo, and I would never switch just for a phone. But multi-touch *is* alluring, plus the suite of built-in apps (esp. the web browser) definitely beats my WinMo HTC TyTN.

  13. I’m probably going to keep using mine. I don’t have any quelms with the EDGE speed, even if 3G is faster, and the tower locate data is accurate enough for me.

    Barring that, if it would be possible to get android (or Ubuntu!) on the iPhone, I’d probably go out and buy a second one for that. Also, if there were some way to turn it into a multitouch interface for a laptop, I’d probably get another one.

  14. I was not happy with the AT&T service, so I canceled in 30 days.

    Since then, I’ve been using it as an iPod touch, and a convenient way to access email around the house without cracking open my laptop.

    There are way too few fee wifi spots in my town, so I generally leave the beast at home.

    The other thing I was really dissatisfied about was the lack of tactile feedback for keyboard typing. The touchscreen is very elegant and all, but I was making way too many mistakes in text-entry, compared to the querty keyboard on my lg env2.

    I guess the real important question about the 3g iPhone is: will it FINALLY support picture texting? The original iPhone’s sms app was awesome, for text-only. When you had to look at a picture message, it sucked in the worst way possible. Which is VERY unfortunate for a phone with such an awesome display, AND a great camera. Someone REALLY dropped the ball hard and heavy there. . .

  15. Got some ideas:

    1. Linux distro that supports all the hardware. Grab that Hidef dock thing and hook it up to the tv, bluetooth keyboard… bam… media center. You could even use the screen to display track progress, or some basic controls.

    2. A router (or access point), not sure how possible it’d be. Hack up some kind of way to plug the dock connector into your network via cat5, then accept wifi connections. Could be used in conjunction with:

    3. Portable network storage server thing. Self contained, a wireless network resource kinda thing, where users could connect with wireless and grab files off of the iPhone.

    4. A WiFi remote for media center or whatever else.

    5. A “pager” for your automated security system. Could connect via any internet connection and view your home cameras, get status of the system, turn the heat on before you get home, stuff like that.

    …might have some other ideas if I think a little more…

    If anyone knows some good links for iPhone Linux development and stuff, or some projects that have already been started, maybe post some links? The hacking of this thing is pretty lame… just stupid jailbreak apps, I wanna see some complete takeovers of the thing. It’s got the power do do a lot and no one has taken advantage of it yet from what little I know…

  16. thought of another thing, copy that little Boss micro Br multitrack recorder. Plug in some adapters to the headphone jack for the mic, and you got a monitor too. Load up some other software on there like a metronome and tuner and you got a pretty sweet little guitar station for road warriors that wanna keep track of new song ideas…

  17. well, its a BSD box at heart right?

    I’m thinking some sort of local webserver using apache, and have it act as a home notice board (shared house)

    Either that or the guys on “Is it a good idea to microwave this?” get a freebie…

  18. Odd, my last post didn’t come through, despite me getting an confirmation email (yes I clicked the link).

    Anyway –

    RE: #9 what do you mean by “real mp3 support” my iPhone plays mp3s just fine.

    As for #25 yes, the iPhone has been unlocked as well as jailbroken. There are sim-based and software based unlock tools available to put an iPhone onto other carriers, some being easier than others to use. The iPhone firmware revision and baseband-firmware versions that your iphone shipped with can make a difference, older iPhones generally turn out easier.

    I’m not giving mine up – it’s jailbroken and I really like some of my 3rd party addons.

  19. I would like to pick up 4 iphones, mount them lengthways on to a board or something, then set up a multitouch control surface for controlling software like Ableton Live.

    Only problem I can see, is it possible for the laptop to recognize 4 iphones at one time?

  20. I juss bought a jailbreak unlocked 1st gen iphone for 80$ the back has some scratches and a little dent and the black part at the bottom is cracked but it looks brand new wit the rubber case on it. I think it was a good deal, but im still trynna figure out how I can get internet and youtube and all that without purchasing a bill

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