Friday, August 24, 2007

iPhone Unlocked

17 Year-old Boy gets one of two Cracks

Teenager George Hotz of Glenn Rock, NJ
led one of two successful efforts this summer which culminated in the last twenty-four hours with the iPhone being freed from being restricted exclusively to AT&T.

Hotz's team (many people worked with him; in the smaller core group, two are in Russia) pulled off a hardware crack requiring a soldering iron. This approach risks wrecking your iPhone (or your child's iPhone; no way would I try this on my own phone first.) The second team's crack reprograms the phone's SIM and is strictly a software approach.

We -- this is the GNB editorial WE now -- certainly would never encourage anyone to crack a system. *looks around piously*

Speaking purely hypothetically however, and totally disregarding all those years in the 70's when I personally cracked (not hard, truly) the DOD Autovon phone system to call my girlfriends for free, and then in the 80's when I was cracking and hacking the PDP-10 (moderate difficulty, depending) at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in order to learn how it worked without the restrictions of a grad student account, not to mention the long-distance phone system and other interesting parts of the EMS Control Center over at State Disaster Control headquarters -- again, to make free phone calls to girls. Seriously... most cracking and hacking by teens and young men is done one way or another to try and impress or score with women. *shakes head; gets back on subject*

My point is if you should try this out, our recommendation would be go with the software method. Less chance of messing up your phone for good, better documentation and you can back out and try again if there's a problem. With a soldering iron if you screw up, you get nasty and painful burns on your fingers. Or maybe that's just me. Oh yeah... But you shouldn't do it, because it is wrong. *smiles*

While it isn't legal to sell the cracked iPhone -- it is arguably legal to free an iPhone for personal use -- that hasn't stopped Hotz from putting his cracked iPhone ($499, new, fully loaded) for sale on eBay before preparing to head off to his freshman year of college next month at Rochester Institute of Technology. Late this evening, the high bid was $12,600. Looks as if the 500 hours of work he put in this summer may pay off. *grins*

Enjoy studying neuroscience George. Geeks rock!