back to article NY youth makes $130k selling real(-ish) white iPhone 4s

Who says the press is useless? Not Fei Lam, a New York teenager who sells conversion kits that transform iPhone 4s from black to white. They are said to be original OEM parts and are not cheap: a full conversion kit costs $279. But as Lam points out on his website Whiteiphone4now: White iPhone 4 Owners: 500 Black iPhone 4 …


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  1. Steve Evans

    He might be fluent in Chinese...

    ...but his English is suspect...

    "We offer competitively priced parts needed to convert your current black iPhone 4 to a White iPhone 4"

    $279 is competitive?!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: $279 is competitive?!

      The price has to be high, otherwise the fanbois won't want it

    2. Darkwolf

      If it was apple...

      it would cost $400 for a conversion kit, and they probably ain't selling coversion kits.

    3. Goat Jam
      Thumb Up

      Very Competitive

      Care to point out where I can get them cheaper?

    4. David Hicks


      Well, if you're the only person in the business of white iPhones, sure, you're only competing with yourself and can sell for whatever you like!

    5. Kevin 6
      Jobs Horns

      Extremely competative

      The apple way will have you pay $200 for a new iphone 4 in white and tack on 2 more years to your contract. Or $700 without a contract.

      So in comparison $279 is cheap ;)

    6. Tom 35

      Find a better price for real-ish white covers

      It seems he found over 400 suckers at that price.

      They may not be exactly stolen, but they are not legit. Companies in China will often run off more items then were ordered, or take defective items and sell them off into the grey market. They are no different then high quality bootlegs.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Can YOU buy one for less???

      Didn't think so...

      So it is a competetive price.

      1. Arclight

        Cheap conversion

        Arclight Enterprises are proud to introduce the Apple White Whitener (formerly known as Tippex). Simply apply the Apple White Whitener to the case of your new Iphone, we even throw in a free brush.

        All yours for just $150, or quote the code FANBOIS and it can be yours for just $190

    8. MrCheese


      Of course it's competitive if the die-dard Appple fanbois get to lord it up over eberyone else for having the latest and greaest Jobsian trinket, look at how many people have thrown half-decent-laptop money away on those oversized iPhones!

  2. Charles Manning

    Silly boy

    While people have the right to modify any kit they own, he has almost certainly not secured the right to put the Apple logo on any kit he sells. He'll probably get nailed for this.

    Apple also likely have a design patent for the iphone case. He will likely be violating that too.

    Sounds like he won't have much of that cash left unless he takes off.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Possibly. every piece of arsepaper is monopolized these days.

      And then amurricans are bitching and moaning about nonexistent jobs. It's China who dunnit, you know.

    2. Tempest

      Apple would be dumb to harass this guy. Best advertising he could hope for.

      Only a dumb arse like Jobs' would move against this guy. He is obviously filling a niche market that Apple can't. If you check his logo I bet it has differences, which the Chinese alternate sources are well known for.

      Obviously from another country, this guy has the smarts to do the American thing - free enterprise. Good luck to him, may he make his million dollars before he hits uni!

      1. Marvin the Martian

        "A dumb arse like Jobs"?

        I certainly believe your superior brain power has let you achieve far more than the pedestrian Mr. Jobs. Now you can build on your credentials by calling Bill Gates a dumb underachiever.

        Good boy, you'll get far.

        I didn't get further in your comment than those words (maybe they were ironic? I'll never know), showing already the intellectual and entrepreneurial gulf between us.

  3. QrazyQat


    "$279 is competitive?!"

    Can you get it cheaper anywhere else?

    1. uhuznaa



      1. Steve Evans

        Re: $35.99

        Thank you Sir!

        I honestly couldn't believe the number of thumbs down I received for suggesting that $279 was a non competitive price!

        Personally I was thinking if I was a fanboy, I could go and get one fabricated from scratch by a local plastics moulding firm as a one off for less!

        Hell I could get a gold plated one done for that!

  4. frank ly

    The lad will go far

    Let's hope it doesn't involve a rapid vertical journey.

  5. TeeCee Gold badge

    Not stolen?

    "....his supplier is a "guy [he knew] from a few years back that had somewhat of a relationship with folks in Foxconn"."

    Nicked out of the parts bin at Foxconn is still nicked. Stolen goods do not magically aquire legitimacy by passing through a supply chain, or by being sold on the net for $279 rather than being knocked out for 50 quid in the pub as is rather more usual.

  6. stu 4

    eh - mince!

    I bought an original white glass back for my iphone 4 for a tenner last week off ebay.

    Front parts are about 30 quid.

    just search for white iphone 4 and you'll find all u need.

  7. John Lilburne

    Tough shit ...

    ... sounds like the mold designs, if not the molds themselves, for Apple parts have leaked out of Foxconn into the backstreet production companies.

    1. uhuznaa

      Well, this is not some exotic handset

      Apple has sold 14 millions of these things now. Which means there have been parts for 14 million of these things been manufactured in China, many of them probably coming out of several factories.

      I even wouldn't be surprised if some of the parts you can get from China meanwhile really were OEM parts, coming from the very same factories producing the parts which end up in actual iPhones.

      Well, it's certainly nice to know for iPhone owners that there's a healthy industry producing spare parts for the things. A shattered glass back you can replace for $10 or so is better than having to buy it from Apple for $150, white or not.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "But as Lam points out on his website Whiteiphone4now:

    White iPhone 4 Owners: 500

    Black iPhone 4 Owners: 14,000,000"

    SO WHAT?

    What a Tw t, just for having one in the first place!

  9. Anonymous Coward

    And the real point is...

    ...tht people are so fucking shallow they pay nearly $300 for a poxy white phone cover.

    Here's an idea, give it to a charity instead and maybe save a someones life!

    1. uhuznaa

      Well, yes

      "...tht people are so fucking shallow they pay nearly $300 for a poxy white phone cover."

      Basically I agree, but people are paying much, much more for other poxy things with noone thinking of ridiculing them. Cars, motorbikes, bicycles, shoes, clothing, houses, furniture, cosmetics, food, flashy PC cases... actually everything.

      I will never understand why everything Apple ignites such an amount of hate and ridicule when at the same time the very same thing is not only tolerated but even lovingly celebrated by the very same people with other products. I'm often wondering if those Apple haters live in a shed, wear some overalls and cheap plastic shoes while sitting on boxes with unkempt hair with a rusty bicycle leaning against their shed. All of this does the job as well and is much cheaper, isn't it?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Whya "Apple ignites such an amount of hate and ridicule"

        I think the "hate and ridicule" is down to a number of things...

        1) The first iPhones were not actually very good compared to almost everything out on the market, they weren't 3G, they didn't do MMS, they were poor phones for voice and they didn't even run App's. The was a definite case of style over substance going on, and while the product has improved the image has stuck a bit.

        2) The way Apple markets themselves is full of hyperbole. Adjectives like “magical” may go down well in the US but in a more cynical Europe they can be seen in a more negative light. Also pretending that you invented something that’s been about for years looks crass, and ignites the suspicion that you are lying about other things as well. Other luxury brands tend to be more understated in their marketing.

        3) Media Noise, Apple has always been popular with media and arts types, they tend to be vocal (and eloquent) beyond the size of their group, but not very tech savvy. This leads to coverage in the press magazines and TV that is disproportionate to the size of the user base and somewhat through rose tinted glasses. This on top of the already massive advertising spend gets irritating.

        4) The lock down, the fact that Apple has such a control of every part of its vertical market is not likely to inspire much praise. Proponents would say it helps keep the platform secure but more people think it’s far more to do with taking a cut of the money. Once you are sucked into this ecosystem it’s also difficult to escape, transferring your 100 albums off iTunes onto another platform is not easy.

        So the image of style over substance, marketing hyperbole, loud ’Luvvies’, and a ‘benevolent’ dictatorship are likely to cause a wide range of people to look on Apple with suspicion and Apple fans with ridicule.

  10. loopy lou
    Jobs Horns

    Legal fees

    His mistake was to be based in the US

  11. Andy Johnson

    Is the price that bad ?

    Remember in this guys bundle, you get a retina display and the touch panel.. He's not just selling a cheap front cover. I wouldn't like to try seperating those from the front cover just to change it...

    1. stu 4
      Jobs Halo

      retina display not required

      just the capacative touch screen is built into front casing - not actual LCD display.

  12. Hunter

    Give the kid a break

    So, most kids his age are either wandering the streets, or laying around on the sofa sponging off their mums and dads. This kids just pocketed $130,000 by doing something which at the time was entrepreneurial . Okay, we can't be sure where the cases came from, but if they were nicked he'd be a fool to be talking about it to the Observer. How many of you have managed to create a business that turned over $130k in such a short space of time, far less at his age?

    If people are willing to pay that amount for a white case, good on him for selling them. Don’t blame him for setting a high price point, it was obviously the right decision.

  13. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    White duct tape

    if you must.

    My preliminary reaction to Galaxy Tab is "Yum". But I'd want it mainly as a media player. So maybe I'll get (another) Microsoft Windows tablet PC instead.

  14. jane55

    advertising LOL

    aha, the White iPhone 4 is too fantastic, LOL

    Anyway this news advertised for Apple to some degree, u know White is a traditional color for Apple products, and the white one is really cool and lovely. Whenever there are a little rumors about white iPhone 4, there are on fire.

    PS: What you need to know about the Apple iPhone 4

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