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Surely you’ve heard this already: iPhone unlocked

The big news over the weekend was that a college-bound student from Glen Rock, NJ, has managed to unlock the iPhone. Of course, that really only opens it up to T-Mobile, the other major GSM carrier in the US. But it’s still a sign of progress. Many in the industry speculated that it would take far longer for hackers to figure out the unlocking process. But it took George Hotz just two months to figure it out. It requires degrees of both software and hardware prowess to work — though there are reports of a software-only lock being delayed for legal reasons.

The project took 500 hours total, and was split among Hotz, the ringleader, and a few other technicians. He is not starting a business from this, though, as he states on his blog. Rather, it’s about freeing the device for everyone, since the process of locking phones is one of the most undemocratic ideas we’ve heard.

He has posted a step-by-step method for the hardware unlock, which requires some soldering. Those unexperienced with a soldering iron should find someone who is — we tried to solder guitar parts a few years ago and still haven’t been able to get the damn thing working.

The original unlocked phone — part of phone history, according to Hotz, was eventually traded to the founder of Certicell in return for a Nissan 350Z and three 8 GB iPhones. Not a bad return for Hotz at all — the value of the car and the phones means he accumulated roughly $50 per hour.

Once we hear more about the software unlocked, we’ll post about it. It’s sitting in limbo now, though, with AT&T’s lawyers tossing out all sorts of threats.

[Detroit Free Press] [George Hotz’s blog]