Teen Can't Wait for Apple: Orders iPhone 4 Parts Direct From Foxconn, Makes $130,000

 For 17-year-old Fei Lam, the months of anticipation (and overhyped announcements like today's) were too much to wait for Apple's much-rumored white iPhone 4. Rather than be delayed by Steve Jobs' penchant for suspense, Lam, a high school senior from Queens, decided to give fans what they wanted—and made more than $130,000 in the process.

According to The Observer, Lam realized there could be big money in getting white iPhone 4 parts early, and he made attempts to skip Apple and directly contact the company's controversial supplier, Foxconn.

"I knew a guy from a few years back that had somewhat of a relationship with folks in Foxconn," Lam, who speaks fluent Chinese, told The Observer.

After arranging orders for parts to make a white iPhone 4 conversion kit, Lam created WhiteiPhone4Now.com, which offers the parts for between $135 and $279. The site soon went viral thanks to the tech blogosphere, and Lam made a killing. Since August alone, he's pulled in more than $130,000 from selling the white conversion kits, according to The Observer.

The question now is whether Apple will take notice of Lam's operation, and whether there are any potential legal consequences. Apple is notoriously protective of its products—and rightfully so. Steve Jobs' product unveilings earn the company millions of dollars in free advertising. So it was no surprise that after its original iPhone 4 leaked, the company tried every possible route to take legal action against Gawker.   

But until that same recouse comes to Lam, Apple fanboys, as his site boasts, won't "have to wait until spring of 2011" for the white iPhone 4.

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  • delsha

    I had come a cross this fortune 500 company say's there hireing for auction listing,i was just wondering if it was legit and not a scam. i was wondering have any body tried it are has already done it?

  • Jane chars

    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 http://www­.ifunia.co­m/iphone-c­olumn/inde­x.html

  • Kyle STewart

    Even though Apple is extremely protective of their intellectual property, they're also very open to kids being brilliant. At least they used to, as my friend John Schlemmer built his old portfolio site as the OS from a couple versions back. Same folder look, same UI, same everything... He even displayed it as if you were using a Macbook.

    Since he was doing this to raise money to buy a Macbook, Apple decided to give him one and simply requested him take down the site. No lawsuit or anything.

    Full article: http://www.macobserver.com/tmo...

  • acarr

    Hi Phil (Fei?),

    As I said earlier, we were directly referencing a figure from The Observer, which spoke with Fei Lam and was the original source for this story.

    If you are in charge of WhiteiPhone4Now.com, and are suggesting The Observer's information is inaccurate, please feel free to contact us directly. We cannot make corrections based off a comment like this, especially since The Observer (which, again, spoke with Fei Lam directly) has not updated its article nor received similar comments.

    If you are Fei Lam, we would love to speak with you, on or off the record.

    Thanks for your help,

  • Justin P

    Austin, you write: "The question now is whether Apple will take notice of Lam's operation...." Um, yeah, I'm guessing they'll take notice since you put his name in Fast Company.

  • Mike Kelley

    can you explain how the $130k figure isn't a blatant exaggeration or number pulled from thin air? looks like you just multiplied his "470 kits sold" number by $279, not taking into account that everything he sold has been the full kit, which would make the number smaller, or the fact that, you know, he probably had to spend money to get these parts in the first place.

  • philnolan3d

    The Observer article says "..helping him to sell more than $130,000 worth of parts...". So he sold $130k in parts, that doesn't mean it's $130k in profit. It doesn't say how much he paid for those parts.