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Cellphones Handhelds Iphone Media (Apple) Apple

Chinese 'Apple Peel' Turns iPods Into iPhones 178

Posted by timothy
from the cheap-data-is-the-key dept.
angry tapir writes "The Apple Peel 520, a Chinese-developed product that drew the media's attention for being able to turn an iPod Touch into an iPhone-like device, is coming to America. The add-on device, which just went on sale in China, has been billed as a more affordable option for users wanting to get their hands on an iPhone, but lacking the budget."
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Chinese 'Apple Peel' Turns iPods Into iPhones

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  • It juts uses the iPod as its UI.
    • Re:It is a phone (Score:5, Informative)

      by RDW (41497) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @05:03AM (#33732116)

      'It juts uses the iPod as its UI.'

      Or to put it another way, it replaces the cheap phone components that Apple left out of the Touch so that it could cash in on the low end of the market without threatening the status of its expensive flagship product. Although the true cost is often buried in a contract, in the UK you can buy an unlocked 64Gb iPhone 4 for £599. The equivalent iPod Touch is £329. Obviously the iPhone 4 is more expensive to produce, but not £270 more. The cost of this device (not to mention the cost of a complete PAYG Android phone, about £100 over here) shows that Apple could produce a much cheaper device if they chose to. But rather than owning the whole smartphone market (as they already own the mp3 player market all the way down to the Shuffle), they've decided to focus entirely on the high end. Whether this will turn out to be a wise decision in the long term remains to be seen, but it's obviously highly profitable right now! In the meantime it leaves us with the oddity of the iPod Touch, a device designed by bean counters, which has no real competition in the market because only Apple can get away with selling a 'smartphone without a phone'.

      • I don't know about in the UK, but here in Australia the iPhone is quite a bit more expensive than the iTouch, but so are Android phones. Most people get these kind of phones on contracts - $0 upfront and $59 p/m (anything from $350 to $500 of cap) over 24 months seems like the standard plan for a majority of the providers. I'd say people are drawn here by the small monthly payments. Why pay $380 for a lesser product when you pay nothing for it on a cap plan (the plans are almost identical to the BYO plans)?

        • by RDW (41497)

          The cheapest PAYG Android phone in the UK is about £80, less than half the price of the cheapest Touch. Step up to a better model and add an 8Gb card to equalise the storage and it's about £115, £74 less than the basic Touch. Another payment of £20 will buy you 6 months worth of 3G net access on T-mobile (though with adequate rather than great coverage where I live). Cheap PAYG phones are common in much of the rest of Europe, though less so in some other countries including Apple's c

          • by Chrisq (894406)

            The cheapest PAYG Android phone in the UK is about £80, less than half the price of the cheapest Touch.

            Which phone is that? Most I have seen have been twice that, and I don't think I've seen one below £100. At £80 I might get one

            • by RDW (41497)

              T-mobile Pulse Mini from Argos. But you only get a resistive screen (the regular Pulse for £20 more has a very decent capacitative screen).

          • by TheKidWho (705796)

            The cheapest Android phone is also a turd. Heck I have an EVO and I think that's a turd for the most part.

      • Re:It is a phone (Score:5, Insightful)

        by khchung (462899) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @05:43AM (#33732292) Journal

        only Apple can get away with selling a 'smartphone without a phone'.

        I recall something that was called "PDA" which seems to qualify quite well as a "smartphone without a phone", and quite a few companies like Palm, HP has been quite successfully selling those before smartphone became popular.

        I know it is trendy with moderators to bash Apple here, but at least try to bash for things they are actually guilty of, ok?

        • by RDW (41497)

          'I recall something that was called "PDA" which seems to qualify quite well as a "smartphone without a phone", and quite a few companies like Palm, HP has been quite successfully selling those before smartphone became popular.'

          I think the key phrase here is 'before smartphones became popular'. Now that the additional phone components are so cheap, PDAs have essentially vanished and the Touch pretty much has its niche to itself. I can't imagine any similar device without Apple's brand image and iTunes/App st

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by FalcDot (1224920)

            Except that my Touch needs to be recharged maybe once a week, depending on exactly how much I use it for gaming on the subway. My ordinary cell phone also lasts about a week on a charge. Yet if I were to combine both, I'd end up needing to recharge it every day. And I'd better have my charger around 'cause it might not last through the entire day.

            • by RDW (41497)

              It's certainly true that the current generation of smartphones is very battery hungry. But a lot of this comes down to additional capabailities that even the combination of a wifi media player and a conventional phone won't give you. The things that really seem to drain my battery are 3G net access and GPS; if I just leave the phone switched on to receive calls and only use non-networked apps like an epub reader I can go a couple of days between charges (with normal usage, I charge once a day). And, of cour

            • my android phone lasts 3 days if i don't run games or listen to music. also, i can recharge it on any USB port in the world, a compatible cable (micro USB) is dirt cheap.

              and i only have to carry one device.

              there was a time that i'd rather have an ipod for music a phone for calls, since most "feature phones" of the time had crappy music players with shitty sound.

              today, most phone have comparable sound quality to ipods, have pretty decent screens that i can read well even in the sun, plus very decent mobile b

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                my android phone lasts 3 days if i don't run games or listen to music. also, i can recharge it on any USB port in the world, a compatible cable (micro USB) is dirt cheap.

                and i only have to carry one device.

                Uh, the iPhone/iPod touch charges on USB. A micro USB cable is still not a standard USB cable so there is no real difference. Just carry the the dock connector to USB cable with you and you can charge on any plane with a USB port in the seat back or on any USB port you find on a computer. I find it hard to believe that you cannot carry a USB to dock cable with you. It takes up about the same space as any other USB cable other than the dock connector end being a bit bigger.

                The iPhone has the advantage of bei

          • by gauauu (649169)

            I can't imagine any similar device without Apple's brand image and iTunes/App store compatibility doing well, at least in countries like the UK where several PAYG Android phones are available for substantially less than the cheapest Touch.

            I wish the US were like that. I bought the Touch to use as a pda, but shopped around looking for something similar running android instead (which I'd rather have). Sadly, the only competing device I found that ran android cost about $400, when the Touch cost me $150. I

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by MacGyver2210 (1053110)

          If you 'recall' then, Apple was also first on that bandwagon. Newton anybody?

          • If you 'recall' then, Apple was also first on that bandwagon. Newton anybody?

            The Newton wasn't really the first device of that type; at least Psion and Atari had devices of the type on the market years before.

      • in the UK you can buy an unlocked 64Gb iPhone 4 for £599. The equivalent iPod Touch is £329.

        There are more differences between the iPod touch and the iPhone than just the phone components:
        GPS, compass, battery capacity. In the previous generation the touch was also missing the cameras and microphone.

        OK, that's still less than £270 worth but the difference is closed somewhat.

        • by RDW (41497)

          It's actually a £350 difference for the 32Gb models (my mistake, see above), and I'd say that GPS and compass at least are now 'cheap phone components' even if the Apple Peel doesn't come with them - an £80 PAYG Android phone on sale in the UK has both.

      • Or to put it another way, it's vaporware. If the device needs to connect through the dock, then the manufacturer will need to get approval from Apple, and will need to license Apple's proprietary dock technology. Let's hope they dot their eyes and cross their teas... and stick with the developer agreement... so if Apple rejects their design for no good reason, they can at least file some sort of lawsuit, ala google apps, and don't just start selling it without Apple's approval, and get sued back into vapor
      • I wouldn't really say it's a smartphone without the phone; it's more of a music and video playing iPod that has a web browser and WiFi capabilities, with some PDA functionality. Now that the iPad is out however, the Touch may not be as appealing but I'm sure there's still a market for it.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Zen-Mind (699854)
        Actually, I recall an article on Anandtech [anandtech.com] that states the various differences between the latest iPod Touch and iPhone. They didn't just drop the phone part, they also have a different casing which could indicates different internal structure, lower quality display, speaker, camera and no GPS. Are these worth the £270, probably not, but it means it might not be as bad as it looks.
      • Re:It is a phone (Score:4, Insightful)

        by joeyblades (785896) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @10:16AM (#33734050)

        ... components that Apple left out of the Touch so that it could cash in on the low end of the market...

        This is so disengenuous as to be silly. Not everyone wants an iPhone. A lot of those people who don't want an iPhone might be in the market for a high end mp3 player. There are two different markets, ergo two different products. Yes, these products have a lot of synergy, but that's just good business.

        ... only Apple can get away with selling a 'smartphone without a phone'.

        If Apple didn't already have the iPod before they had the iPhone, your rant might actually sound clever. However, in light of actual history it just sounds like a lame rant.

        • by RDW (41497)

          'There are two different markets, ergo two different products.'

          More like overlapping (and rapidly converging) markets currently artificially divided by pricing of the hardware and/or phone contracts. How many people would really prefer to do without the ability to make calls or use the net outside wifi range on a phone-sized device, for reasons other than cost? If a basic unlocked, modestly priced iPhone were available in the US, just how popular would the Touch be? Why do you suppose there are so many Andr

          • You're missing the point. First there was the mp3 player. Then the mp3 player got a few apps. Then there was a phone and a new version of the mp3 player that shared a lot of design elements and features because Apple isn't stupid.

            You're making it sound like Apple took their iPhone and dumbed it down. I'm saying that's not what happened.

            I know a lot of people that have iPods, but have no interest in an iPhone. People that want both an iPhone and an iPod appreciate the overlap. People that want an iPod a

            • by RDW (41497)

              'You're making it sound like Apple took their iPhone and dumbed it down.'

              Yes, I think that's exactly what happened. Take the SIM card out of an activated iPhone and which other Apple device does it most closely resemble? Answers on a postcard, etc.

              'You call that a lack of innovation - I call it brilliant! And let me remind you, I don't even like iPhone, but I can appreciate the brilliance of the strategy.'

              Apple (like many other companies) has been using this brilliant, fully synergized marketing strategy of

      • by RockDoctor (15477)

        But rather than owning the whole smartphone market (as they already own the mp3 player market all the way down to the Shuffle), they've decided to focus entirely on the high end.

        Apple own the MP3 market? That's interesting news ; did it happen in the couple of weeks while I've been on holiday? Does that mean that if I considered replacing the 4-year-old MP3 player that I haven't quite worn the ink off from, then I've no option but to buy an Apple, or that I must at least consider an Apple MP3 player? Will i

  • By duct-taping my Android phone to my iPod I can add the ability to run Droid apps to my Apple iOS product!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by wgoodman (1109297)

      Just so you know, My iPhone dual boots into Android as well. Current release only gives internet/voice/mms functionality (if your SIM is unlocked), but next release should have the Android app store.

      http://www.iphodroid.com/ [iphodroid.com]

  • It would have been much better to turn the iPod into an Android phone.

    Unless they now release a way to install Android in the resulting pseudo-iPhone.

    They can call it iBerration.

    iTypical?

    iBnormality?

    Damn! you're a tough public. Tip the waitress anyway and don't worry, I won't be here all week.

  • Is this kind of innovation even possible in the lawsuit happy culture and the carrier-locked-phones environment of the US?

    Maybe 7-8 years ago, there were already tack-on devices that turns Palm PDA (anybody remember those, actually it's a Sony Clie) into a phone, one that can use the address book of the PDA, and uses the PDA screen as UI. Why did nobody in the US made this for the iPod touch in all these years?

    • by Yetihehe (971185)
      Because Apple would sue them for "deterioration of user experience".
    • Easy, the minute you bring this onto the market you have bazillion of laywers on your back who sue you into poverty. 90% probably coming from Apple 10% coming from patent troll companies who seek an easy cash in.
      Face it innovation is crippled, a modern apple would not even stand a chance in the US if you look at apples phone breaking/ garage innovation / xerox copying history.
      One of the main reasons why the western industry goes down the gutters currently, we are strangeling our still possible small garage

  • Yikes (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @04:46AM (#33732030)

    TFA,

    Earlier this month, solar technology company GoSolarUSA signed an agreement with the Chinese developer of the Apple Peel, Yoison Technology, to develop the device, file it for a U.S. patent and distribute it in America. The first demonstration models of the Apple Peel will arrive in America this week, GoSolarUSA said in a statement on Monday.

    Who is GoSolarUSA?
    http://www.gosolarusa.com/company.html [gosolarusa.com]

    Apparently they don't do anything yet. Okay, let's check out CEO Tyson Rohde. Says he /was/ CEO of Biotricity before this gig.
    http://www.biotricitypower.com/company.php?main_cnt=our_team [biotricitypower.com]

    Huh, what a shock. Biotricity is /another/ company that doesn't seem to do anything. Including list the current CEO who replaced Tyson.

    Okay, how about Brewer Captital Group? Ah, well their link redirects to a 404.
    http://www.brewercapital.com/ [brewercapital.com]

    Goldbridge Energy Partners then? I get "network problem" -- no site available.
    http://goldbridgeenergypartners.com/ [goldbridge...rtners.com]

    And none of those "companies" or Tyson Rhode have managed a mention in Wikipedia of course.

    I thought it was a little unlikely to see a solar energy company going into dubious electronics, but this is looking like a less unlikely match with every link. Maybe this'll even get some steam and be good for a couple of weeks of /. stories. I kinda miss Darl.

  • by Mr. Freeman (933986) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @05:17AM (#33732176)
    This will work great... right up until apple releases a firmware upgrade that intentionally breaks it.
    • by exomondo (1725132)

      This will work great... right up until apple releases a firmware upgrade that intentionally breaks it.

      Of course, you can't interface with Apple's device unless Apple gets some money for it. Now that iphones are a dime a dozen and ipods and ipads are selling well ios will hopefully become the dominant mobile OS so we can have anti-trust suits that remove these ridiculous business practices from apple.

  • by Vskye (9079)

    A new iPhone starts at $99, and a iPod touch starts at $229.

    So why would you want to add iPhone capabilities to a iPod touch in the first place?

    • by IonOtter (629215)

      Maybe because people want to outright purchase an iDevice, rather than chain themselves to a particular network? $99 to shackle yourself to AT&T, or $800 to have it free and clear.

      I know if this works for T-Mobile, I'll be purchasing a 64GB iPod Touch in a heartbeat...

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