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NEW YORK — A teenager in New Jersey has broken the lock that ties Apple's iPhone to AT&T's wireless network, freeing the most hyped cellphone ever for use on the networks of other carriers, including overseas ones.
George Hotz, 17, confirmed Friday that he had unlocked an iPhone and was using it on T-Mobile's network, the only major U.S. carrier apart from AT&T that is compatible with the iPhone's cellular technology.
While the possibility of switching from AT&T to T-Mobile may not be a major development for U.S. consumers, it opens up the iPhone for use on the networks of overseas carriers.
"That's the big thing," said Mr. Hotz, in a phone interview from his home in Glen Rock.
The phone, which combines an innovative touch-screen interface with the media-playing abilities of the iPod, is sold only in the U.S.
Calls to AT&T and Apple for comment were not immediately returned.
[edited by: Rugles at 8:37 pm (utc) on Aug. 24, 2007]
Since the details are public, it seems likely that a small industry may spring up to buy U.S. iPhones, unlock them and send them overseas.
"That's exactly, like, what I don't want," Mr. Hotz said. "I don't want people making money off this."
Nevertheless, he's auctioning off his phone, current bid $10,200.
In the long run I believe this will speed up the release of the phone into other markets because if Apple doesn't make deals with other networks soon it won't have any bargaining power with which to do so given the availability of the phone without the need for the deal.
Can't they go after the hacker under the DMCA, since the kid is on US soil, or did I miss something?
what would 'they' charge him with? guy modified the phone he (or his friend) purchased. Apple / ATT might void the warranty but I don't see any basis for the charges (but I am not a lawyer nor I stayed at Holiday Inn last night).
By the same token, if I modify my car (put new wheels, or put a supercharger on it, etc) , can /should manufacturer of the car 'go after me'?
[edited by: Tastatura at 6:14 pm (utc) on Aug. 26, 2007]
What state do you live in? It's difficult for me to imagine that to be true. Aftermarket modification of motor vehicles is a big industry.
Sounds like a clever win-win for Apple if you ask me...
"The newest list of exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is out, and the Register of Copyrights is recommending six exemptions this time around."
"Exemptions are allowed for .... 5) cell phone firmware that ties a phone to a specific wireless network"
I own my cell phone, and I am free to do with it as I please...currently. However, for that car analogy, in the majority of states, the modifications you make to your car are regulated by laws (emissions, inspection, safety...) I can't go and throw on a twin turbo kit and 5% window tint and expect to pass inspection, but I am free to do it and use it for off-road use.
I have a feeling, at some point in the near future, hacking a cell phone is going to be described as being the same as stealing cable. Just a hunch, but I see it coming, as ridiculous as it sounds.
If I were AT&T, i'd be focusing energy on building value-added services that make their network the preferred one for iphones. They need to make it so good that no one will want to leave.
fire the lawyers and hire as many talented engineers as possible. Build, build, build.
This kid is going to have a brilliant career
iPhone has been hacked in numerous countries already, including Europe and Russia for certain (press releases in major newspapers). I am sure lots of folks posted info online. The kid is smart, no doubt, but no genius, he can just interpret instructions well.
If they go after him legally - I don't really see a point in it as phone is hacked all over the world and NOTHING they can do - it would be just plain revenge against poor fella, not because they'd be able to protect anything.
OK, you hack if for private use only, probably nothing will happen.
Make the whole issue public, you're flirting with disaster.
Sell that hacked unit, then it's no longer for "personal use" and the lawyers could descend on you like a swarm of locusts.
And, correct me if I'm wrong, the only way to get iPhone right now is to sign the contract with AT&T, right? There is no 'clear' iPhone in stores anywhere? So it's still good deal for AT&T, because ppl will need to buy it anyway from them and pay for it for two years or whatever. It's just that they won't talk using that network.
NEW YORK - Hackers have figured out how to unleash Apple's iPhone from AT&T's cellular network, but people hoping to make money from the procedure could face legal problems.
At least one of the companies hoping to make money by unlocking iPhones said it is hesitating after calls from lawyers representing the phone company.
Unlocking the phone for one's own use, for instance to place calls with a different carrier, appears to be legal. But if it's done for financial gain, the legality is less certain.
"Whether people can make profits from software that hacks the iPhone is going to depend very much on exactly what was done to develop that software and what does that software do," said Bart Showalter, head of the Intellectual Property practice group at law firm Baker Botts in Dallas.
Associated Press [news.yahoo.com]