Apple Peel, which turns iPods into iPhones, coming to US

The Apple Peel 520 can turn an iPod Touch into an iPhone-like device

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 lack the budget. The Apple Peel is a protective case equipped with a dock connector, battery and SIM card, that slips on to an iPod Touch. Once connected and properly installed, the device will allow the iPod Touch to make phone calls and send text messages.

Earlier this month, solar technology company GoSolarUSAsigned 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.

"As soon as they arrive, we'll begin distributing demonstration models to retail buyers across the country," said GoSolarUSA CEO Tyson Rohde in a statement. "The amount of interest in this product that we've received from distributors has been staggering."

The Apple Peel features five hours of talk time and 120 hours of standby use on its battery. GoSolarUSA has yet to offer a retail price for the add-on. But Yoison Technology is selling the device in China for $US77.

Yoison could not be reached for comment. But the company plans on releasing 2,000 Apple Peels this month in China, according to Yoison's online auction site. Other knock-off versions of the device are already being sold online in China.

The release comes after Apple launched its iPhone 4 in China last week. The smartphone is so popular that its already in short supply among retail outlets selling the device. Purchasing an iPhone 4 without a contract in China is slightly more expensive than it is in America. The 16GB model costs $744, while the 32GB model costs $893.

The shortage of iPhone 4s and the high price are reasons why the Apple Peel may find a strong following in China. Prices for Apple's latest iPod Touch range from $269 for the 8GB model up to $478 for the 64 GB model.

How the Apple Peel will fare in the Chinese market will depend partly on how consumers perceive the price gap, said Flora Wu, an analyst with Beijing-based consulting firm BDA. "The iPhone 4 will decrease in price over time, and so if the price gap is small, the incentive won't be as big."

But the Apple Peel is a notable example of "reverse innovation," in which Chinese developers have found ways to tweak products from foreign countries and make them more suitable for the domestic market, Wu said.

"I think there will be a market for the device," she added. "But the market potential will depend on the price gap and how well the user experience is."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Apple PeelMobility & WirelessiPhoneipod touch

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

IDG Online Staff

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?