iRetrofone turns iPhone into '50s desk accessory

If you thought the Novophone handset was cool, wait till you get a load of this totally retro iPhone base. But be prepared for sticker stock.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read
Step into the Wayback Machine, Sherman: The iRetrofone is the ultimate "nostalgia dock" for the iPhone. freelandstudios

Remember the Novophone, that nifty retro handset that plugs into your iPhone for old-school, crook-of-the-neck gab-fests? It was cool, but it was only half the picture.

The iRetrofone completes it, combining a similar corded handset with a big, black, 50s-style base. It looks like something right out of a Humphrey Bogart movie, one with private eyes, dangerous dames, and a big old office desk.

As you can no doubt guess from the photo, the iRetrofone is essentially an iPhone dock. You plug an included cord into the audio jack, connect your existing sync cable to the dock connector (too bad it's white--kind of ruins the aesthetic), then lay your iPhone into the front holder.

It looks a little weird, sure, but overall you get the full flavor of an old-fashioned rotary phone. Well, not quite: You'll want to pony up 99 cents for an app like Rotary Dialer or iRetroPhone (no relation), both of which lend your iPhone a working rotary dial.

Then, pick up the handset and make like Edward G. Robinson: "Yeah, see? We gotta rub out them mugs, see? They should be sleepin' with the fishes, see? Yeah." See?

Now for the bad news: This slick slice of nostalgia will set you back $195, not including $15 for shipping (plus sales tax if you live in Florida). What's more, according to the seller's Etsy page, the iRetrofone is backordered for six weeks (though that was posted about five weeks ago). Getting this in time for, say, Father's Day could be iffy.

Still, talk about a unique item for the iPhone owner who has everything. I think the iRetrofone looks incredibly cool, and I'd love to have one on my desk--especially considering that's where I do most of my talking. On the other hand, my cheapskate nature is making me balk at the price.

What do you think? Too cool to pass up, or too rich for your blood? Share your thoughts in the comments--and keep in mind the Novophone is still on sale for $27.95.