Teenager makes $130,000 selling white iPhone 4 kits

By on November 17, 2010, 3:26 PM
A 17-year-old from New York has been ordering white iPhone 4 parts directly from a contact at Foxconn, a factory complex in China responsible for building Apple products among other things, and putting his own conversion kits together. His website, WhiteiPhone4Now shows he has sold some 500 kits so far, meaning at a price of $279, he has managed to make about $139,500 in the last three months. Sounds like a typical American entrepreneur story, right? Well, not exactly.

"I got an email from a private investigator accusing me of selling stolen goods, which I'm 100 percent sure is not the case," Lam told The New York Observer. "They are some kind of anti-counterfeit/trademark firm, which sounds ridiculous, similar to what Apple is bringing up to remove White iPhone 4 Listings on eBay. I don't know how this legal stuff works. There are a couple of other sellers online and somehow I'm the 'focus' of it all. I think this guy is just trying to scare me into stop selling on behalf of Apple."

We don't know who hired the investigator but few would be surprised if it ended up being none other than Apple. Despite the possibility of jail-time and fines, Lam is not throwing up the white flag and intends to contact a lawyer. He has no plans to take his site down or change his business practices. He wants to use his earnings to help pay for college and set up a small start-up.

While the black iPhone 4 was released earlier this year, the white version saw a series of delays and won't be released until Spring 2011. For those who really want a white iPhone 4, it's not surprising they're simply buying from Lam instead of waiting for Apple.





User Comments: 21

Got something to say? Post a comment
ebolamonkey3 said:

I wonder how much it cost him to buy those kits and get it shipped from Foxconn.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

It's a bit silly to think people would spend $200 to change the colour of a phone... especially when the white version doesn't even look as good as the black one imo.

frodough said:

slh28 said:

It's a bit silly to think people would spend $200 to change the colour of a phone... especially when the white version doesn't even look as good as the black one imo.

most iphone users are visual creatures and when you worship the style, the fashion you will do the most impractical things to meet that goal. i think the kid is pretty smart like many others out there who knows how to get the dumb ones to spend some doughs. remember that 'I AM RICH' theme which used to sell for 999.99? i wouldn't doubt he sold quite a few of that before even Apple thinks they need to help the stupid ones from wasting money on things like that. it's just too funny to me what people will do to look good and brag about things they have because that's all that is to it.

Guest said:

I'm curious as to how he knows for a 100% certainty that they are legit cases. I would think that Apple would have some sort of non-compete or exclusivity contract around any parts made for the iPhone.

More power to him though for being a creative entrepreneur...

Johny47 said:

That's cool and very clever, seriously.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I say good for you Lam! Tell Apple to "shove it where the sun don't shine". Leave it to Apple to try to crush the entrepreneurial spirit that built this country... Shame on you Apple.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I cant believe people spend that much just for a case... I dont even spend that much on a phone =(

However I must agree with Slh28 the black one looks way better than white one imo, probably they want the retro apple look?

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This is a business built on the old "If you build it, they will come" philosophy. Seeing as how there are only 500 white iphones, and 14,000,000 black iphones, according to his site, it is a status symbol to have a white case (until they come out mainstream next year).

Regenweald said:

Why is Apple the only company licensed to rob people blind ? more power to you Lam. Rock on.

Nima304 said:

That's right. Screw Apple, buy from the private sector.

Guest said:

This entire article sounds like an add campaign for his website to bring in more traffic. "Buy my product before you have a chance!"

Private Investigators DO NOT send letters accusing people of wrong doing, thats why they are called "Private".

Attorneys on the other hand do send letters, and they are the once that do hire private investigators on their behalf.

If any one did have an issue with the product/s he was selling, then Apple attorneys would contact him directly with a Cease and Desist letter.

The article smells of BS all over

Guest said:

Who ever did the math, you did it wrong.

He didnt make $139,500, ....but far less. You forgot to calculate the profits that he has to split with whom ever supplies him with the product.

arod916 said:

$279 for a stupid mod. Reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry has to wear the fur coat for for Kramer and the dude mocks him like, "love me want me shower me with kisses", thats how I picture the need of iphone users to buy them as fashion/status symbols. Props to dude making all the money from the 500 douches who have bought that.

Tanstar said:

Guest said:

I'm curious as to how he knows for a 100% certainty that they are legit cases. I would think that Apple would have some sort of non-compete or exclusivity contract around any parts made for the iPhone.

More power to him though for being a creative entrepreneur...

Apple chose to do business in China, where they don't care at all about little things like patents.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Check the website. The kit is so expensive because it includes the retina display.

taea00 said:

Wow Apple pushing people around? No! Never!

fpsgamerJR62 said:

I guess this means Apple wants to be the exclusive seller of outrageously expensive IPhone accessories of dubious value and utility. What's new ?

Leeky Leeky said:

Respect for having the balls to do it - Something tells me this would be the last thing this 17yr old does!

He has vision though!

DRoc28 said:

don't we all wish we jumped on that idea, smart kid, good for him.

DSparil said:

I approve on how this kid made his money but Apple and the government loves their fascism and will stop this no matter what.

Stunts like what Apple is doing isn't helping anyone to exercise their rights.

Shame on you Apple and kudos to this kid for doing what is right.

Guest said:

I think that boy is very smart but I wish to see that brand to disappear dumm people is only make steve jobs a billionaire hes a crooked guy

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.