Author David Kushner (Who wrote Masters of Doom, which is an excellent book, by the way) wrote a lengthy, but excellent piece focusing on George Hotz a.k.a. Geohot and his status in the hacking world.
Interestingly, it doesn’t seem that Geohot ever set out to become some sort of hacker icon. He just wanted to have an iPhone, and he wanted it on his T-Mobile network rather than AT&T.
He’s also the guy who got into with Sony when he cracked the PlayStation 3, which was said to be notoriously difficult.
Here’s a portion of the piece:
“He used a Phillips-head eyeglass screwdriver to undo the two screws in the back of the phone. Then he slid a guitar pick around the tiny groove, and twisted free the shell with a snap. Eventually, he found his target: a square sliver of black plastic called a baseband processor, the chip that limited the carriers with which it could work. To get the baseband to listen to him, he had to override the commands it was getting from another part of the phone. He soldered a wire to the chip, held some voltage on it, and scrambled its code. The iPhone was now at his command. On his PC, he wrote a program that enabled the iPhone to work on any wireless carrier.”
You can read the full report here.
Be warned, it’s a beast of an article, but it’s really worth reading.