Fifteen-year-old Nick Lee tricked Apple with a very simple iPhone application: Handy Light. On the surface it looked like any other $0.99 flashlight application. But, secretly, it was a lot more useful.
On the surface, Handy Light just allowed you to make your iPhone’s screen go blank with a color of your choice. You opened it, clicked a swatch from a simple palette, and that was it: Life in technicolor. Another stupid flashlight application, like a hundred others. Or so the people who test applications at Apple’s App Store thought.
Inside, the app was a full tethering application, a program that allows you to use your iPhone as a 3G modem, so you can surf the web from your computer connected to the iPhone. All without having to pay the additional $20 per month that AT&T stupidly wants you to pay for that kind of service. That $20 on top of the data plan you already pay for the iPhone.
It worked beautifully: You just needed to set up a Wi-Fi network in your computer, connect your iPhone to it, change a few parameters in your computer’s Wi-Fi settings, and that was it. Within seconds, your laptop was able to surf the web. Was. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long. The app was pulled from iTunes as soon as news of its true nature appeared online. Those who downloaded it, however, can keep enjoying its benefits.
A great story with a sad ending. Hopefully, they will keep republishing similar apps as they take them down. Let’s try this again.