Print 18 comment(s) - last by plewis00.. on Aug 8 at 6:23 PM

The Yosion Apple Peel 520 with an iPod touch next to an iPhone4.  (Source: iHelp Lounge)

The Apple Peel 520 turns your iPod Touch into a iPhone  (Source: PCOnline)

The iPod Touch insider the case remains reasonably thin -- likely just slightly fatter than an iPhone.  (Source: PCOnline)

Yosion's phone app is similar to the traditional iPhone interface.  (Source: PCOnline)
Device adds a SIM card and extended battery to Apple's MP3 player, is cheaper than iPhone (with ETF) to boot

An enterprising startup called Yosion Technology has delivered a custom case called the "Apple Peel 520", which wraps around the iPod Touch and, in effect, turns it into an iPhone.  The case contains a 800mAh battery, dock connector, and a SIM card attached to a Infineon baseband processor-powered cell phone printed circuit board.  The result is a 3G-ready phone that gets 4.5 hours of talk time and 120 hours of standby.  The device also appears to support vibration.

The economic advantage of this approach to those looking to run iPhones on non-endorsed networks seems simple.  The case retails for $388 RMB (Yuan), approximately $57.33 USD.  An iPod Touch 64 GB costs $399.  The iPhone 4, on the other hand starts at $299 (with service plan) for a 32 GB model, but then you have to pay an early termination fee that may be as high as $350, depending on your national service provider.

At the end of the day you get a 64 GB iPhone for roughly $460 USD with the case approach, where you get a 32 GB iPhone for $650 with the traditional approach.

Of course you have to have a big bulky plastic case around your phone, but that would be true anyways, given the iPhone 4's severe signal issues that required Apple to give out free cases as a fix of sorts.

There are a few notable downsides, though.  While the iPod Touch is rumored to be getting a front facing camera, it currently does not have one, so video calling, one of the star features of the iPhone 4, is not a possibility.  Secondly, you have to use a jailbreak on the iPod Touch and then install the necessary apps ("Yosion" and "YsSMS") in order have the device properly function as a phone.  Finally, while the interface that Yosion has implemented is pretty close to the traditional iPhone menu system, it has some quirks.

A final downside is that while the device will be made available in China this week, there's no plans to bring it to the U.S. yet.  All the menus in the Yosion apps are in Chinese, so unless you're fluent, you may be out of luck.  If you speak Chinese fluently and are very interested, you could probably pick one up from China or possibly even mail order it.

As to the legality of the device, were it to come to the U.S. Apple would surely call it illegal and try to kill it, much as it did to OS X desktop maker Psystar.  Fortunately for Yosion, those kind of complaints will likely get Apple nowhere in China.  So for now it appears that at least the Chinese have found a way to get a semi-authentic iPhone of sorts for much cheaper than usual -- and with more memory.

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By ChugokuOtaku on 8/6/2010 9:53:57 AM , Rating: 4
Can't wait to see the iPad version


By nafhan on 8/6/2010 9:59:47 AM , Rating: 4
Uhm, the 3G version of the iPad? :)
Speaking of which, it would be awesome if they sold the iPhone (and Android smartphones) with an iPad-like data plan. I would love to pay $30 a month for data only and no voice.

By nvalhalla on 8/6/2010 10:11:25 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah, then just use Skype for phone calls. That would be awesome, which is why it won't happen.

By manofhorn on 8/6/2010 12:34:31 PM , Rating: 2
oooooooh you're in luck. tmobile has a data only plan that you can pair with any android device. (it takes some fenagling on the website, though.) with a sip service, google voice and the right program installed on your android phone (guava, for instance) you can get unlimited talk, text and data on your phone for 49.99. that way it also doesnt matter where you are in the world, either--just so long as you have a wifi connection.

By Connoisseur on 8/6/2010 10:11:29 AM , Rating: 2
Amen. I'd buy this in a heartbeat for my itouch 3rd gen if they offered data only plans. I already have a perfectly competent phone. I would just like to use my ipod apps on the go without having to pay 100 bucks a month. 30 a month is much more reasonable.

By PrinceGaz on 8/6/2010 2:00:51 PM , Rating: 2
Then what you need is something like this

There must be something like that available in the US.

Here in the UK, I pay the equivalent of roughly US$15 on PAYG to get 1GB data allowance valid for up to a month. That's more than enough for all the apps I use. If I needed more data (perhaps I suddenly wanted to watch streaming video) I can pay US$25 for 3GB, or US$40 for 7GB.

The device itself is better than something which attaches to the iTouch because you can use it with any WiFi capable device, up to a maximum of I think four simultaneously, so you don't need a seperate WiFi dongle for a laptop etc. Also, if you have borderline reception, you can position it pretty much anywhere (for instance on a high window-sill) which you can't do with anything attached to a device you are using, at least not conveniently.

I've found it to be ideal, I can send text-messages in Skype, and make phone-calls if I use the earphones with mic. The apps believe your iTouch is connected to the internet using WiFi, therefore any restrictions they make when connected via 3G don't apply.

I'm sure for US$30 per month there must be something equivalent in other countries.

By nafhan on 8/6/2010 4:23:47 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting. You can buy the same thing with Verizon. The prices are a lot worse, though. It uses the mobile broadband plans: $40 for 250MB and $60 for 5GB.
Also, this isn't quite what I'd want as you have to carry two devices the MiFi + a laptop/MP3 player. Still, the $60 plan is probably a good thing for some people as it's cheaper than a voice plus data plan. In fact if I was looking for mobile broadband for a laptop and was mostly staying in the same place, I'd almost certainly get one of these.
I figure this kind of thing will probably become more common and cheaper as 4G networks get rolled out. Probably 2-3 years out before I get something.

By Lerianis on 8/8/2010 5:08:20 PM , Rating: 2
The FCC needs to step in and put the smackdown on these companies. This is just price gouging, there is no reason why 1GB of bandwidth should be worth 40 dollars just because it is on a phone!

By WoWCow on 8/6/2010 12:06:13 PM , Rating: 3
Strange how a bad product can be made superior and cheaper by someone else in another country (in what many consider oppressive) because they can...

Perhaps Steve Jobs should loosen his grips in the US and allow some people to tinker with it? Ah but I forget, litigation and Apple fanatics forbid that possibility.

By brshoemak on 8/6/2010 1:39:45 PM , Rating: 2
I could imagine the iPad phone, it would go something like this: (with iPad of course)


By bupkus on 8/6/2010 1:42:07 PM , Rating: 2

That's Not An iPhone 4
By Ninhalem on 8/6/2010 10:04:52 AM , Rating: 2
The device next to the touch in the top picture is not an iPhone 4. It's either a 3G or 3GS. Too hard to tell from the picture angle, but I would be willing to bet that it's a 3G.

RE: That's Not An iPhone 4
By plewis00 on 8/8/2010 6:23:13 PM , Rating: 2
It's an iPhone Classic/2G/first-gen (whatever you want to call it) - you can see the silver casing and black antenna portion at the base.

Hey Mick, you should read Ars technica
By gyranthir on 8/6/2010 11:00:50 AM , Rating: 2
By menting on 8/6/2010 11:21:54 AM , Rating: 2
totally different.
one is 3G data only
other is voice (data portion still in testing phase i heard)

By bupkus on 8/6/2010 1:40:09 PM , Rating: 3
perhaps we're getting a peek into the future as China becomes more adept at electronics. Considering how large the global market is for these phones I'm sure China is not satisfied with just building for the West. I'm sure they are entirely committed to tapping into that incredible resource of > a billion people with probably so many brilliant new students. This must be exciting times for China.

It'll be interesting to see if their political and economic institutions can pull it off and in fact adapt to the prospects of huge prosperity.

iPods with microphone
By oopyseohs on 8/6/2010 9:53:24 AM , Rating: 2
I am assuming this only works for 3rd generation iPod touch devices that have the microphone?

phone thickness
By kmmatney on 8/8/2010 2:10:54 AM , Rating: 2
I've noticed that iPod touches seem to be a bit thinner than the iPhone, so the overall thickness won't be too bad. it would be nice if this could work with the cheap 8GB touches.

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