Though he could have sold the code for locking the iPhone, he posted it for free on the Internet. "I really believe that information should be free," Hotz said.
Still, Hotz is taking advantage of his success. He's posted one of the two iPhones he's hacked for auction on eBay. As of Friday afternoon, the leading bid stood at more than $3,000. Hotz started the bidding at $540--the amount Apple charges for an iPhone. He's keeping the first one he hacked for himself.
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.
So far, the phone--which combines an innovative touch-screen interface with the media-playing abilities of the iPod--is sold only in the U.S.
AT&T told AP that it had no comment, and referred questions to Apple . The latter company was not immediately available.
Hotz's modification leaves the iPhone's many functions, including a built-in camera and the ability to access Wi-Fi networks, intact. The only thing that won't work is the 'visual voicemail' feature, which shows voice messages as if they were incoming e-mail.
Hotz collaborated online with four other people, two of them in Russia, to develop the unlocking process.
"Then there are two guys who I think are somewhere U.S.-side," Hotz said. He knows them only by their online handles.