Schoolboy to sell $59 iPhone hack

From TheAge
Asher Moses
September 5, 2007 - 2:11PM

A teenager from Victoria says that within days he will start delivering a hack that unlocks the iPhone for Australian mobile networks, using only a software application.

The 17-year-old high school student from Mildura, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he had signed up to be an Australian reseller of the iPhoneSimFree hack, developed by hackers in the US.

Instead of selling the software directly to individuals, the iPhoneSimFree developers have opted to sell wholesale licences to resellers around the world.

The hack has not yet been made available to individuals but was proven legitimate via a live demonstration on CNN and a video published on the Engadget blog.

The boy, who has already begun accepting pre-orders through his website,, said he was selling the hack for $59 per iPhone.

It is considered superior to other iPhone unlocking methods because it involves no hardware tampering and does not require the purchase of special gadgets such as TurboSIM or Super SIM.

Numerous Australians have already imported and unlocked iPhones using the TurboSIM and Super SIM tools - the exclusive distributor of TurboSIM in Australia shut down its online store after being inundated with orders - but the new software hack's simplicity is expected to appeal to those who are not tech savvy.

"Basically what you do is upload an app to your iPhone and then when you run that app it contacts a server, and if your phone is verified with the server through a serial number on your phone, it will unlock the phone," the boy said in an interview.

"What we have to do is we have to collect the information that's specific to each customer's iPhone and then we have to input that into the iPhoneSimFree database to create a licence."

In the CNN demonstration it took about two minutes to hack the iPhone so it could run on the US T-Mobile network, as opposed to AT&T, the US mobile carrier with which Apple has signed a multi-year exclusive rights deal.

The boy said the US developers were finalising the system they would use to accept orders and he expected to receive an invoice for the bulk licences he purchased within the next few days.

He said his site had already received 1000 unique visitors in less than 24 hours, and the 50 preorder items he put on eBay last night had been snapped up as of this morning.

"The reason I started it mainly is to get the unlocks out to people - I didn't really start it to make money ... I just wanted to offer a service to people who, just like me, want an iPhone and want to get it unlocked easily," he said.

Resellers pay $US25 per unlock for licences bought in lots of 5000 or $US36 per unlock for lots of 50.

"It's a lot easier for them [the iPhoneSimFree developers] to sell bulk lots rather than having to deal with thousands of emails from people ... they probably don't have the capacity," the Australian reseller said.

But he acknowledged the possibility that Apple might release an iPhone software patch that could reverse the hack.

"There is a chance of that but iPhoneSimFree have said if the unlock is undone by any software updates then they will try and update their software through their wholesalers so we can distribute it again to all our customers," he said.

UniquePhones, a British firm that has also said it would sell an iPhone software hack, stalled its plans after reportedly receiving legal threats from AT&T.

But the boy said he was not concerned about potential legal threats arising from his new business venture. He said he did not believe Apple was worried about the hacks because "in the end for Apple it's going to increase their sales".

An Apple Australia spokesman declined to comment on the legality or otherwise of selling iPhone software hacks online.



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