White iPhone 4 conversion kits net New York teen $130,000

“When Fei Lam, a high school senior and gadget nerd, got a tip about buying up some white iPhone 4 parts, he saw the opportunity to finally make his passion for electronics pay off,” Ben Popper reports for The New York Observer.

“According to Lam, who speaks fluent Chinese, about six months ago he was able to make a connection with Apple’s infamous overseas supplier. “I knew a guy from a few years back that had somewhat of a relationship with folks in Foxconn,” Lam told The Observer by email,” Popper reports. “Lam created a site, whiteiphonefournow.com, to sell conversion kits that turn regular iPhone 4’s into their elusive white version.”

Popper reports, “His venture was noticed by major sites like TechCrunch, CNET and CNN, helping him to sell more than $130,000 worth of parts since this past August… Yesterday however, Lam received an ominous letter. ‘I got an email from a private investigator accusing me of selling stolen goods, which I’m 100 percent sure is not the case. 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.'”

Full article here.

33 Comments

  1. Honestly, some of these people do not seriously understand at all that to be a smart-ass crook is not always a way only to a bold cash-in. Sometimes that means to be punished really bad for that “life philosophy”.

  2. … with the white iPhones (to date) has been matching the “color” of the main shell with the “color” of another part. So I hear. Which means “yeah, they are white, but not good enough for Apple”. Which means that Apple isn’t going to be happy with these things floating around out there. Chances are “good” that the parts were made for Apple and that Apple asked Foxconn to destroy them. Foxconn found a different way to get rid of them. Or the people they hired to do the job did. Whatever, “theft” may be too strong a term, but the legal action is coming either way. Jail is possible, yes. Unlikely, though, unless Apple is going to be seriously hard-ass about it and can show there actually was the intention to steal what they knew to be someone else’s (Apple’s) property.

  3. … with the white iPhones (to date) has been matching the “color” of the main shell with the “color” of another part. So I hear. Which means “yeah, they are white, but not good enough for Apple”. Which means that Apple isn’t going to be happy with these things floating around out there. Chances are “good” that the parts were made for Apple and that Apple asked Foxconn to destroy them. Foxconn found a different way to get rid of them. Or the people they hired to do the job did. Whatever, “theft” may be too strong a term, but the legal action is coming either way. Jail is possible, yes. Unlikely, though, unless Apple is going to be seriously hard-ass about it and can show there actually was the intention to steal what they knew to be someone else’s (Apple’s) property.

  4. “I don’t know how this legal stuff works”

    I suggest Lam find out fast. Apple has an ornamental design patent on the casings of all of its products. Without a license from Apple to re-produce and/or sell parts that look like an Apple you are in big trouble.

    I went through exactly this scenario in 1989 with a PBX telephone manufacturer. The issues are exactly the same.

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