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Phone converter for iPod Touch targets U.S. market

U.S. distributor of the Apple Peel, which wraps around the iPod to make it function as a phone, is looking to ink deals with stateside retailers. How will Apple respond?

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Turning your iPod Touch into an iPhone, the Apple Peel is looking to hit the U.S. market.
More or less turning your iPod Touch into an iPhone, the Apple Peel is looking to hit the U.S. market. GoSolarUSA

The U.S. company marketing the Apple Peel, a device that can turn an iPod Touch into an iPhone, is now looking to peel off a slice of the lucrative U.S. market.

GoSolarUSA announced a deal Tuesday with the Peel's Chinese developer Yosion to bring the device to the United States retail market. Under the agreement, GoSolarUSA (GSLO) said it will work with Yosion to develop the "Apple Peel 520," file for a patent, and then distribute it in the U.S.

The company added that its Chinese representative has received models of the Peel that will be used to demo the device to distributors stateside. GSLO said it's been speaking with Micro Center and is now looking to reach out to Radio Shack, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and Fry's Electronics to interest them in selling the Peel in the U.S.

Designed by two Chinese brothers who formed their own company, Yosion Technology, the Apple Peel wraps around the iPod Touch and includes a battery, dock connector, and SIM card. After installing special software (considered to be jailbreaking), people can then make and receive voice calls and text messages on their Touch, just like on the iPhone.

If GSLO can get the retail backing, the Peel would sell in the U.S. for around $60. That contrasts with the iPhone 4, which starts at $199 for a 16GB model but then requires a two-year AT&T contract with hefty monthly charges for a voice and data plan.

But the big question is: will Apple sit idly by and let the device hit U.S. shores?

"The brothers who invented this Apple Peel probably ran down a list of how many ways could they annoy Steve Jobs," Jonathan Hudis, chairman of the American Bar Association's Trademarks and Unfair Competition Division, said in a Bloomberg article. "I could not see Apple standing by to let this continue, especially if it results in product shipping into the United States."

Apple didn't respond in time to a request for comment from CNET. But according to Bloomberg, Jill Tan, a Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for Apple, said any product that's been tampered with won't receive warranty support. Apple is aware of the Apple Peel, she added, but declined to comment further.