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US Teen Trades Hacked iPhone for Nissan 350Z 230

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the something-for-nothing dept.
PieGuy107 writes to mention that seventeen-year-old George Hotz of Glen Rock, NJ has made the trade of the summer. Hotz traded his hacked iPhone for a new set of wheels (Nissan 350Z to be exact) and 3 more 8GB iPhones. "[Terry] Daidone, who's the co-founder of Louisville, Kentucky-based CertiCell, has apparently also offered the young man a paid consulting job, but stresses the company doesn't have 'any plans on the table right now to commercialize Mr. Hotz' discovery'."
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US Teen Trades Hacked iPhone for Nissan 350Z

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @06:05PM (#20405039)
    they want their story back.
  • Smart Trade (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Gryle (933382) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @06:07PM (#20405057)
    Boy's now got a set of wheels and more iPhones to experiment on. You'd think it'd just be cheaper to pay the him to unlock your phone for you.
  • Hackability... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by posterlogo (943853) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @06:09PM (#20405087)
    I like many Apple products, but I can't afford an iPhone (I don't YET consider it a value when it doesn't offer 3G support, etc, and I can't afford to pay just for the style factor). Despite its shortcomings, however, I have been fairly impressed with its hackability (and the efforts those who've modified it for interesting new uses, including unlocking it). I haven't heard any peep out of Apple about discouraging this sort of thing (short of the obvious warnings warranties being voided). I think this approach with the iPhone, and also the highly hacked AppleTV, is enhancing the value of these products, which out of the box, aren't necessarily top of the line in many categories.
    • by dgatwood (11270)

      Hear, hear.

    • Re:Hackability... (Score:5, Informative)

      by bWareiWare.co.uk (660144) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @06:35PM (#20405347) Homepage
      As opposed to Nokia, whose 3G N95 comes with a free SDK (gcc based), POSIX librarys and most of the necessary open source librarys ported by Nokia themselves.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        But but... it can't possible have the Real Internet (tm) on it! Steve said so!
      • by megaditto (982598)
        Well, Walmart has been selling great sneakers for under $30, yet people still buy they over-priced label items.

         
        • by tgd (2822) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @07:27PM (#20405855)
          Yeah but when you buy name brand instead of Walmart, you know your shoes were made by eight year olds, not five year olds. My morals are worth another $30.
          • Re:Hackability... (Score:5, Informative)

            by hazem (472289) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @09:20PM (#20406653) Journal
            Many name brands own "value channel" brands strictly to be sold in Walmart and other low-end retailers. In the case of the company I work for, the shoes and apparel items are sourced in the same factories as the name brand products with no decreasing of labor standards.

            The only real difference is the quality of the materials used and the technologies used. For example, I wear the Walmart-channel shoes because they fit better. They look a lot like the name-brand shoes but instead of leather, there is often vinyl or instead of high-tech soles, the soles are more of a solid rubber - and they're not quite as durable.

            The margin is lower for these value items, and some of that is made up with the cheaper materials. The overall profitability is maintained by the much higher volume that goes through stores like Walmart.

            Oh, and none of our shoes or apparel are made by 8 year olds (or anything even close) and that is verified by outside auditors. I expect our biggest competitors can honestly make the same claim.
            • Bingo. Very informative re: the "value channel" stuff. Sorta like the "store brand" groceries which are basically the same stuff as name brand, but in the cheapo-box and less margin.
      • Yes, the N95 is pretty sweet, but again, we're talking apples and oranges (ehem) here. It does have a lot of features the iPhone doesn't (yet), but it's unlikely to get hacked to have a touchscreen. Also, it isn't exactly a bargain either. I've held both (damn lucky friends of mine), and believe me, you can feel how much clunkier yet less durable it is than an iPhone. If only we could have the bastard offspring of Apple+Nokia.
  • by gcnaddict (841664) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @06:11PM (#20405107)
    if the 350Z had a salvage title on it...
  • by feepness (543479) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @06:11PM (#20405109) Homepage
    The poor kid is absolutely boned come tax time.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by geekoid (135745)
      Do people under 18 pat taxes?
      Even so, it's not that bad.
      the first 20K applies as a 'Gift' so no taxes there.
      • Huh? (Score:4, Informative)

        by wsanders (114993) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @06:46PM (#20405453) Homepage
        Everyone in the US over age 0 has to pay taxes, if their income warrants.

        The gift tax rules don't apply - he's clearly being compensated for his skills. Strictly speaking, he increased the phone's value himself and then accepted compensation for it. Only his accountant knows for sure.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by PCM2 (4486)

          Strictly speaking, he increased the phone's value himself and then accepted compensation for it. Only his accountant knows for sure.

          Unless they wrote up a contract stipulating that he would be compensated for the hacked iPhone with eight unhacked iPhones... and on a completely unrelated side issue, the Nissan was a gift.

      • by vux984 (928602) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @06:48PM (#20405479)
        Do people under 18 pat taxes?

        Yes.

        Old enough to pay taxes.
        Not old enough to vote what they are use for.

        One of the many injustices in the system.
        • Gee, grow up!
      • by feepness (543479) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @06:48PM (#20405483) Homepage

        Do people under 18 pat taxes?
        Yes.

        Even so, it's not that bad. The first 20K applies as a 'Gift' so no taxes there.
        How is him trading an iPhone he modified for a car and 8 more iPhones a gift? Believe me, it will not be listed as such on the business owner's return.

        He's going to need to take that job just to earn enough by the end of the year to pay the taxes.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by hansamurai (907719)
          I saw him being interviewed on CNN (I think) and he said he's already accepted an offer for an internship at Google next summer. And according to his blog he's already at college. I doubt he'll be taking that job unless he can work remotely, which would be awesome. I worked remotely at school for a tech company and it was the best job ever. Now I work for them full time on site and it's not as fun.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by wwwillem (253720)
            It should be the other way around. An internship which is done remotely is IMHO a waste of everybody's time and energy. And a normal job should definitely have a mixture of on site and remote (at home) elements. Of course all depending on the type of job.
    • by evilviper (135110)

      The poor kid is absolutely boned come tax time.

      Assuming he doesn't have a full-time job we haven't heard about, or a massive trust-fund, taxes are entirely a non-issue. He'd have to earn more than approx. $20,000 in a year to have to pay taxes. A used car is well below that limit. Maybe he'll have to work his way through the form, but that's about it.
      • by randyest (589159)
        Unless it's trashed and has huge mileage, a use 350Z is almost certainly worth more than $20k. But your counterpoint to the GP stands -- the tax burden won't be that bad. He could sell one of those 3 iphones he got along with the Z and cover it with money left over.
        • by evilviper (135110)

          Unless it's trashed and has huge mileage, a use 350Z is almost certainly worth more than $20k.

          I checked Kelly's Blue Book. A 2006, 25,000 mile, 350Z coupe in Excellent condition is officially ~$22,000. If it's any older or less perfect than that (and you can stretch the just a bit), he can get it, and his 3 iPhones, in under $20,000, without trouble.

      • It's 7% of the car's value here. :-(

    • He could just hack and sell one of the other iPhones for cash to pay off the taxes.
    • No, he bought the car for the price of the iPhone. You pay taxes on the price you pay. ~7-8% of iPhone price.
      • by feepness (543479)

        No, he bought the car for the price of the iPhone. You pay taxes on the price you pay. ~7-8% of iPhone price.
        Wherever in the FSM's name did you get this idea?
  • you don't even have to read TFA, TFS has it all
    • by felipekk (1007591)
      Am I the only one that reads this TFA and TFS as The Fucking Article and The Fucking Summary? I know it is The Full Article, but still, got used to it.
  • first, as another poster says.. why not pay the kid to unlock it.. unless you don't want the car..
    second, why didn't the kid hold out for more?
    third, I can have some hacked phones if these guys wanna get rid of any maxed-out alienware laptops???

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pablo_max (626328)
      Well, first by selling this knowledge, but not actually selling the service of unlocking phones, the kid is sidestepping legal issues. I can imagine that when the kid sold it for much much more, he would have apple's lawyers on him much quicker. Also, how long do you think he can hold out before someone else makes the same breakthrough. I don't know if you ever noticed, but breakthroughs always seem to happen at the same time. So, why not get a free car. Plus, if you read about it you would know that he was
  • I wonder if that 350Z has an iPod connection?

  • by Nymz (905908) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @06:22PM (#20405215) Journal
    Maybe I'm just being cynical, but without reading a single article, I feel fairly confident concluding that the kid may be smart for his age but that he didn't do this.

    Like that DVD Jon guy, other people did the work, but they are adults, adults with jobs, and they don't want to get sued to death, so they let an underage person take the credit and press. Who would dare sue a kid, because the press luv the fantasy story of some hacker kid sticking it to the man, and companies don't want the bad press of sueing a kid.
    • by SplatMan_DK (1035528) * on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @06:32PM (#20405303) Homepage Journal

      Like that DVD Jon guy, other people did the work, but they are adults, adults with jobs, and they don't want to get sued to death, so they let an underage person take the credit and press. Who would dare sue a kid, because the press luv the fantasy story of some hacker kid sticking it to the man, and companies don't want the bad press of sueing a kid.
      Hmm... let me see...

      1.) DVD Jon was actualy a pretty knowledgeable hardcore geek way before he did the CSS crack.
      2.) He actually DID get sued. By big companies. On several occasions.

      ...what was your point again?

      :-)

      - Jesper
      • by Nymz (905908)

        1.) DVD Jon was actualy a pretty knowledgeable hardcore geek way before he did the CSS crack.
        2.) He actually DID get sued. By big companies. On several occasions.
        ...what was your point again?
        :-)

        My point was I haven't read a thing, but don't believe anything from the press. Nothing against the kid, he is probably smarter than I am, but every sound byte I hear focuses on the wonderment of a hacker genius kid that did that cured cancer, when all that was accomplished was breaking the latest pathetic artifi

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by pipingguy (566974) *
        DVD Jon was actualy a pretty knowledgeable hardcore geek way before he did the CSS crack.

        Wait, I thought it was Christopher Finke [chrisfinke.com] that did the CSS hack [mozilla.org]!
    • by Dunbal (464142)
      and companies don't want the bad press of sueing a kid.

      I guess they could just get the RIAA to do it for them.
  • Read the TFA! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zedturtle (987328) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @06:31PM (#20405285)
    He was given the car by a guy who owns a mid-sized cell phone repair shop in the midwest. This guy (Certicell)'s getting massive publicity out of the hoopla surrounding the unlock. The unlocked iPhone isn't worth a 350Z. Getting mentioned on every news-outlet and riding the coattails of Hotz's fifteen minutes of fame is worth a 350z.
    • he did the trade for the same reason GoldenPalace.com [goldenpalace.com] buys a grilled cheese sandwich with the Virgin Mary on it.
    • The unlocked iPhone isn't worth a car, but the recipe for unlocking it (and more to the point the time spent coming up with it) perhaps is. Still, it's compensation for work, not a gift. Still taxable, though. He could probably sell the 8 iPhones and pay the taxes on the car, though.

      Next time he should ask to be paid in Wii.
  • by saddino (183491) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @06:46PM (#20405455)
    The IRS will likely consider this taxable event, so young Mr. Hotz is going to be out some serious cash to cover his tax bill. I read somewhere that most game show winners of "free cars" end up selling them to cover the taxes.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by evilviper (135110)

      I read somewhere that most game show winners of "free cars" end up selling them to cover the taxes.

      "Gifts" and contest "winnings" are taxed for about 1/3rd of their value, as I hear it.

      That's why when a family member wants to give you a car, it's far better to say you sold it for $1, instead of paying the taxes on a free gift.

      With this trade, however, it's not a free gift, nor a contest winning, so it'll be taxed like any other income. I don't expect him to have to pay more than $100 to the IRS. License a

  • by Dachannien (617929) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @06:56PM (#20405567)
    ...does he call it Hotz Wheels or the Hotzmobile?

  • has anybody considered that this is just viral marketing? I mean, this feat is pretty darn cool...but it doesn't really accomplish much, now you can use the phone on tmobile as well, but it isn't like the phone now has the capability to be used on every single network out there. If anything, this is good news for apple, not only did they get MORE front page news, but now the kid who did this is being touted as a celebrity; not to mention the fact that they can now sell phones to all of the tmobile custome
    • Ah, the Holy Grail: hacking GSM phones to work on CDMA networks. How does one rig a SIM card to work on a network that uses something else?
      • How?
          In Soviet Russia, if CDMA, for one, bows down to our new beowulf-cluster-of-iPhones overlords, GSM would hack you! and cover Natalie Portman in hot grits, you insensitive clod!

        ...if I can some how show that netcraft confirms Holy Grail is dying, it just might work.

        /brain hurts from just writing that

  • Car Insurance (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dagamer34 (1012833) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @07:05PM (#20405649)
    Too bad it doesn't come with car insurance. There's no way the guy will be able to afford the premium on a 350Z.
  • by koutkeu (655921) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @07:56PM (#20406095) Homepage
    Next step: Hack the 350Z and trade it for a jet
  • Would you use a iPhone with someone's signature on it?

    I'm sure the Fairlady will have "Daidone" signatures all over it!

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