The iPhone does exists, but Apple doesn't make it


Published: Monday, January 8, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 7, 2007 at 10:17 p.m.
The tech world has been all atwitter for months about the elusive iPhone, a cell phone-and-iPod combo that Apple may or may not release soon. Last week, it was revealed that the iPhone actually exists - but Apple isn't making it.
It turns out that Cisco Systems, which owns the home networking company Linksys, has held the iPhone trademark since 2000, giving it the exclusive right to sell something called an iPhone. Linksys announced several new iPhone products last week, including the WIP320, a small wireless handset that lets you make calls over Wi-Fi networks using the Skype service.
Calls to other Skype users are free, and plans for calls to regular phones start at $14.95 for unlimited calling in the United States and Canada. International calls start at 2 cents a minute.
The WIP320, available from major retailers for $200, connects to any wireless access point and displays your Skype contact list on its color screen. The tiny phone weighs about 4 ounces.
Apple fans are now trying to figure out what the Apple phone will really be called. The iHype, perhaps?
  • CONNECT ALL THOSE DEVICES TO YOUR PC, BUT FORGET THE CABLES: There are few peripherals that do not connect to a computer via USB ports - leading to a boom in USB hubs, which let you connect multiple devices via one port on the computer. With the spread of Wi-Fi-enabled laptops, many people are eager to untether from the desk and still use all of their peripherals.
    Belkin has come out with a wireless solution, the Cable-Free USB Hub. The hurdle in making a wireless hub has been in connecting all the devices together without generating interference between wireless signals, including those from other devices like cordless phones.
    Belkin, with a chipset developed by Wisair, has cracked the code. The transmitter connects to a USB port on a laptop, and the hub itself can be up to 30 feet away.
    One drawback is that you are limited to just four ports, and you can't daisy-chain multiple hubs together as you can with the wired variety.
    The Cable-Free Hub is priced at less than $200 at the usual electronic outlets and at www.belkin.com. As with all cutting-edge technology, the price will drop when competitors enter the market.
  • WANT TO TAKE UPSIDE-DOWN PHOTOS? TRY A MONSTERPOD: The MonsterPod is a unique camera tripod that can stick to any surface and hang, motionless, like a strange barnacle, thanks to what its maker describes as a "patent pending viscoelastic morphing polymer Super Grip."
    Super Grip is a blob of sticky plastic that can adhere to almost any material, including rock, tree bark, or steel.
    Need a sideways shot? Splat your camera against a wall.
    Want an upside-down shot? Push it against the ceiling.
    The MonsterPod will stay put until you pry it off.
    There is a catch, however. The MonsterPod will hold only cameras weighing up to 10 ounces.
    It uses a threaded tripod screw to attach to almost any point-and-shoot camera and costs $29.99 at monster-pod.com. A kit with a stylish case costs $48.95.
    Photo buffs with heavier cameras can use a device like the Joby Gorillapod SLR (joby.com, $39.95), a heavy-duty spiderlike device that wraps around poles and tree limbs.
    But just think - the MonsterPod lets you slip the words viscoelastic morphing polymer Super Grip into dinner conversation.
  • IT'S A WIRELESS MEDIA CENTER, BUT WHERE'S THE HARD DRIVE?: The Mvix MX-760HD media server has a lot of features, but out of the box it's missing one important thing: a hard drive. Mvix can supply a hard drive when you place an order through its store, but you'll have to install it yourself, a simple process outlined in a detailed manual.
    Once that's done, the device acts as both a storage server and as a media player. You connect the MX-760HD to your home network via Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi, and move music, video and other files to the hard drive. The server can also be directly connected to a PC via U.S.B.
    The device, available for $300 at www.thinkgeek.com, can play back many standard media formats - AAC, MP3, WMA, DivX and AVI, to name a few - but it cannot access copy-protected audio or video files like those from the Apple iTunes store.
    On the back, the server sports a smorgasbord of audio and video outputs. The video can be up to 1,920 by 1,080 pixels, conforming to the 1080i high-definition standard, with either standard TV or widescreen proportions. You can navigate an on-screen interface for the device via a supplied remote control.
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