• Aug 28th 2007 at 10:04AM
  • 21

The iPhone has been perhaps the most hyped tech gadget of 2007, and a 17 year-old from New Jersey recently achieved fame by being the first to "unlock" the Apple device. George Hotz, who many are referring to as the new "DVD John," rigged the $599 iPhone to operate on any network with any SIM card. For his epic hack, Hotz was given a free Nissan 350Z and three 8 GB iPhones. All he had to do was hand over the compromised handset to Terry Daidone, owner of phone refurbisher and aftermarket parts maker CertiCell. Not bad for a kid that hasn't even started his first day of college.

A bad-ass 350Z is definitely a hell of a deal in a trade for a phone that costs a mere $499-$599. If Hotz doesn't get into legal trouble for his work, we think the brilliant teenager will likely get a killer job with a tech company well before he finishes college... right about the time he gets his third speeding ticket.

[Source: iPhone JTAG]

Thanks for the tip, Phil!

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      No, the kid's gonna be fine... It's the the Guy/Company who bought them that's going bring down some heat if he starts a sideline modding iphones. DMCA (Bulls_t) not withstanding ... Apple is one of the most of a tight-assed companies out there. You can't even put their software on "non-branded Apple products" eventhough you F-ing bought it. So if this dude --now that he is in the spotlight starts (or is suspected of) doing this for people for money, Apple's legal team may come a-supoena-ing. ...and considering all the 'power people' on their knees waiting to service Mr. Jobs, it won't matter if the suit is baseless Apple would simply "win" a settlement battle, or win the long courtroom war by attrition.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Compy, you apparently have no clue about United States law. The U.S. Supreme court determined it is NOT a crime to modify electronics you purchased. When you purchase a piece of electronic equipment it is yours and you are entitled to do anything you want to it. Think before you speak.
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is very impressive! I tried jailbreaking my iPhone once and failed so I just used one of the authorised methods on http://www.theiphoneunlock.co.uk, which worked a treat!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Just a 350Z? man like he couldent of picked more of a "me too" car.
      • 8 Years Ago
      In my opinion what he did is illegal. Companies pay lots of money for exclusive rights to something like the iPhone. Althought I'm pretty sure it was said that the digital millenium copyright law doesn't cover cell phones. Probably new legal ground.
        • 8 Years Ago
        Retrofitting vehicles is not the same thing. Sure an automaker competes in the parts market, but they didn't pay for any sort of exclusive rights to your vehicle. AT&T paid Apple for the exclusive rights to use their device. You pay for an apartment, you'd be pissed if someone else was living there. Like I said I don't think cell phones aren't protected by name. Still there are a lot of other industries where this is clearly illegal (modding your gaming consoles to play copied games). Also your 2nd argument seems to be that if laws are easy to break then they shouldn't be enforced. Just because it didn't take people that long to crack the iPhone doesn't make it not illegal. If companies didn't pay to support these devices new phones would be a lot more expensive. Eventually maybe they'll stop, but then how does that benefit anyone. Is an $800 iphone that can be used with T-Mobile better than a $600 one that can be used with only AT&T.
        • 8 Years Ago
        But is it really for exclusive use? That would be a rather strange agreement. Isn't the agreement just for exclusive right of distribution?
        • 8 Years Ago
        So, Compy, I guess you think that any who fits an aftermarket part to their care, particularly if it supplants an OEM supplier part, is committing an illegal act too. After all their deal with the automaker is premised on selling a lot of replacement parts too. Geez the extent to which some patsies buy the corporate line.

        1) When you buy a piece of hardware you can do whatever you want to it. Period. You can paint it pink, throw it in a blender, or resell it for ten times the price. You can add functions, take it apart, improve it, modify it, or make it into a pretty floral bonnet. You do NOTHING wrong if you undermine the manufacturers business plan.

        2) "Companies pay a lot of money" well la-de-da - maybe a wise company SHOULDN'T pay "lots of money" for something that a child of five could have told them would be broken in the first month. Could this mean financial losses for ATT? Maybe. Might some of their employees lose their jobs? Maybe. That is as it should be when companies make stupid decisions and it is not the responsibility of you, me or the United States government to do a damn thing about it.

        One thing I can say with 100% certainty, neither this kid, nor the purchasors, nor any other hack distributor is in the least bit of legal danger, and, unlike AT&T, they are actually creative business people who are trying to give the market what they want instead of paying for a (legal) monopoly and than exploiting (legally) it by gouging consumers.
        • 8 Years Ago
        Compy: It was a shit deal. AT&T shouldn't have bartered and pandered "exclucivity". The best they could ever hope for is the glamor of being a "launch customer" and the only "official" supporter of these phones.

        On the other hand, if one buys a hacked iPhone, it's going to be a black sheep. If somebody scratches it or kills the battery or it decides to immolate and kills the family in the resulting house fire... Apple and AT&T have no responsibility whatsoever because you "modified it outside manufacturer specifications". Just like how a Honda with an aftermarket Cold Air Intake can be denied engine work...
      • 8 Years Ago
      No, what he did was NOT illegal. Even with your backwards DMCA in the US there is a specific clause in it removing cell phones from protection by the DMCA. He's not going to be sued. If he was going to be, he would have been already.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I think the kid got ripped off. The money that will be made from selling unlocked iPhones will probably pale in comparison to the price of a 350Z...
      • 8 Years Ago
      I he knew as much about cars as hes does about electronics he`d be driving a Corvette.
      • 8 Years Ago
      One thing this kid did wisely is that he didnt accept money, he trade it. And that fair and square is not a financial transaction that can make him responsible for something.

      But the company that gave him the stuff will be subject to legal consecuences if they start a business out of it. But only if AT&T decides to go after him. Apple will sell their iphones anyway.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Maybe he can hack the Z and turn it into a Porsche.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Apparently he has a 3000GT now, and he was going to fix it up this summer (a blog post implied it needed a new engine or something), but ended up spending all his time cracking the iPhone instead. Suffice it to say that he probably knew what he was doing when he asked for a 350Z. It wouldn't be my choice but I'm not him.
      • 8 Years Ago
      What is so great with what he did?
      Who cares? If he figured out the mystery behind AIDS
      or found out where Bin Laden was than I will shake his hand.
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