Jul 26 2010

15-Year-Old Kid Tricks Apple App Store [Smart Kids Rock]


I love smart kids. I love tech folks who stick it to THE MAN.

These days, despite protestations from iHoles worldwide, Apple is THE MAN. Especially when it comes to the iPhone app store.

Here’s what happened: according to Gizmodo, Nick Lee, a 15-year-old kid, was selling an iPhone app called Handy Light. It looked like one of probably thousands of “colored flashlight apps” that are in the app store.

BUT! Handy Light had a secret feature — “hidden code that made it a full tethering application—a program that allows you to use your iPhone as a 3G modem.” This is something that AT&T charges $20 a month for. But if you have Handy Light, you can do it for free — well, ok, a one-time charge of 99 cents.

A couple of points:

  • Cellphone carriers who charge for tethering are annoying.
  • Apple’s claim that they filter apps in order to protect users now sounds silly. Especially when they rejected a farting app. (They eventually approved it, I think.)
  • It’s great that kids are still programming. Computers in schools are mostly used now as gaming machines.
  • This is NOT evil hacking. This is a kid who figured out a way to buck the system.

According to Gizmodo, Apple removed Handy Light from the app store, but anyone who downloaded the thing can keep using it. Not sure if it’s possible to load your own apps onto the iPhone. If so, I hope the kid released the source code so people can keep doing this on their own. It may be a violation of AT&T’s agreement (I have no idea if it is or not); if so, that’s their problem.

GO! SMART! KIDS! David Lightman! Represent!

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How a 15-yo Kid Tricked Apple With a Disguised iPhone Tethering App (Gizmodo)

Wargames DVD image via Amazon.com