iPads come and they go, but some stay around longer.

This is the time of year that I take stock of all the devices and accessories around the house that I no longer want to keep. I have enough keyboards, cases, and spare cables to sell on eBay and make a few bucks for Christmas shopping.

I’ve sold three iPhone cases, two sets of speakers, an Apple AirPort Express, and that’s only a third of the lot. There are a few more goodies to go. I’m considering the sell of my iMac (circa 2000), the late eighties Apple keyboard, and even the Power Macintosh G3.[1]

And I had plans to sell my first generation iPad mini. In the early winter of 2013, I purchased it from Apple.com. I had it engraved on the back with “I fight for the users.” I loved that device.

But it didn’t last me a whole year. The first time I dropped it, my iPad mini landed diagonally on the top-right aluminum corner. It shattered the glass very unexpectedly. I was miffed. That was the first iPad I really wanted to keep around, and with the most innocent of accidents, it went from ‘awesome’ to ‘this is everything that bothers me about technology.’

Before I knew what was happening, my wife gifted to me an iPad Air. Rather than restore the iPad mini, I put it inside one of those OtterBox cases that were built to survive a volcanic eruption. Then I gave it to the kids. It held together and they never noticed the shattered glass. The integrated screen protector worked like a charm, holding the glass together and avoiding bodily injury.

Then, this past summer, my father-in-law handed down his iPad 3. It became the new ‘iPad for kids.’ The iPad mini had seen enough action, or so I thought.

Flash-forward to the eBay sells of present day.

I took the device to a local Smartfone repair shop. They have been helpful on more than one occasion. Being the purest that I am, I would’ve been happier to take the misshapen iPad to an Apple Store, but the nearest one is an hour and a half away.[2] If all you want to do is replace the screen to resell it, the smart thing to do is to go to Smartfone.

They said they would replace the screen for $130. That’s a competitive price. Others online would replace it for $119, but that doesn’t include shipping and my time waiting.

After Smartfone replaced the crackled display, I came home and wrote this product description:

Why sell: This is my very awesome, very loved, iPad Mini. My wife surprised me with an iPad Air as a gift, so I have no need to hold onto this device.

Engraving: I originally order it from Apple.com new. On the back is engraved “I fight for the users,” which is a Tron: Legacy’ movie quote. It’s practically the perfect geek reference for any movie buff.

Condition: The one corner of the back of the aluminum has a minor scuff. There are very minor scratches along the right-side chamfered edge. Besides that, it’s in very decent condition. Looks very good.

Photos are coming.

Everything was falling into place. With the right snapshots from my iPhone edited in Photoshop, my product would be irresistible. I hoped to collect $140 to $195, if I were very lucky.

At supper, I showed the device to my wife. “See what I had fixed? I’m thinking to sell it.”

Unexpectedly, she had a look of anticipation and eagerness in her gaze. There was an inaudible yearning. Like magnetism, something was pulling at the iPad mini in my hands.

“… I was thinking, that is, unless you can see a reason…”

She looked at me a little more hopeful.

“… Or if you are interested, I’d be glad to give it to you. It’s in good condition.”

And with that, my iPad mini became my wife’s. She was thrilled, surprisingly. She said she wanted to give me my Christmas present early, as well. She sincerely thought I was gifting it to her — as in, she thought it was my primary Christmas gift to her. Very early.[3]

Hardly! If someone gifted me their old iPad mini, with dings along the side and a scuff on the top-right corner, I would feel insulted. For my wife, on the other hand, it was the coolest thing that happened to her in November 2014. How was it possible that our feelings about the iPad mini were so different? Could we honestly be thinking about the same device: a first gen. iPad mini? No better than an iPad 2?

I didn’t expect it to play out like this. I thought she wouldn’t be interested. She previously had an iPad a little over a year ago. After a year with it, she lost interest in carrying it. After a few months of collecting dust, we came to the conclusion we should do something else with hers. I guess we sold it on eBay in early 2013. Since then, she’d not expressed any interest in an iPad.

She has a great MacBook Pro. She carries a young iPhone 5s. It just hadn’t occurred to me that she would like an iPad. In general, rumor has it that everyday people are losing interest in the iPad. No? Oh, maybe that is just a rumor, or the statistic is largely exaggerated.

So, I was reminded of a very important truth today: you never know. Your family members’ use cases will probably not match your own. You may not even know which devices would better serve your family unless you simply offer it to them. I knew this somewhere in the back of my mind, but it hadn’t occurred to me how relevant it was in my present situation.

Christmas came early for my better half. (just kidding!) eBay will have to wait another year before it sees my old iPad mini.

  1. I’ve considered selling them for years. Haven’t convinced myself yet that I don’t want to show them to the kids when they’re older.  ↩

  2. Even if Apple would replace it at a good price, considering the rest of the lifespan for a first generation iPad mini, it just wasn’t worth the trip. The iPad might have another year’s worth of relatively satisfactory usage.  ↩

  3. She has a hard time not giving me Christmas and birthday presents way ahead of schedule.  ↩

Joe Darnell

Joe is a UI and graphic designer with prior experience as the creative director for three media-based businesses. Joe’s passionate about web design and graphic design with about 15 years of experience in the media industry. Additionally, Joe is the host of the Top Brew and Techtonic podasts, both featured on iTunes.