Tuesday, August 28, 2007

17 year old sells modded iPhone for depreciating good

When I heard about the 17 year old hacking the iPhone to work on the T-Mobile network, I was pretty impressed. If you are not familiar with the story, the boy spent about 500 hours over the summer physically modifying the new Apple phone with the help of 2 online friends. Someone give this kid his engineering degree, already. No doubt he has a fine future in the technology industry ahead of him.

But I was disappointed to hear he just gave away gadget for a car. The Nissan Z Roadster starts at $27k, though is probably worth a few thousand less now that it has been titled. I don't think a 17 year old would balk at $50/hr as a summertime job, but I just can't help but think a much better deal could have come out of this.

The real question is what Apple's response will be. If they keep their phone locked, the company that bought the teen's idea could stand to make a lot of money. Much more than a Nissan Z. On the other hand if Apple renegotiates with at&t and unlocks their phone, the $27,000 invention could become worthless.

Still, I can't help but plug in $27,000 in cash and think that this kid could have had a million by retirement without putting in another dime.

1 comment:

Jim said...

He didn't invent anything at all. This is the typical backwards engineering that people do when companies release new equipment. The only reason he was motivated to do this was AT&T and T-mobile have the same type of network. Not all carriers will be able to use this phone just because it is unlocked. The phone part itself might be able to make calls but that's about it.

The same thing is done on gaming consoles to modify them to play backup discs. Some mods take a little knowledge and the ability to solder connections. Others methods just involve flashing firmware on the device. If something gets messed up you have an expensive paperweight.

I'm willing to bet when you were 17 a car or 27k in cash would be pretty appealing. A scholarship to get a degree probably would have been a better value, but that is up to him. Some people don't need to necessarily go to school to learn stuff they could figure out on their own. I always feel having that degree under your belt is a positive thing, but a degree does not guarantee a job or income level.

The iPhone is just a toy to me though.