I'd like an iPhone, hold the phone

I recently ran across a blog entry where the author said he wanted an iPhone minus the phone. This got me wondering whether such a product would have much appeal (as well as whether Apple would ever release one). What would an "iPhone hold the phone" be as a product? It would be an incredibly slick portable media player, wireless Internet appliance, and basic PDA similar to Nokia's 770 device. If it were to deliver VoIP service, it could also serve as a portable Wi-Fi phone. Priced right, it could be a big seller because most of the revolutionary features of the iPhone aren't really phone related (the exception being visual voicemail and its ability to call by clicking a phone number in a web page or contact entry). You'd still have a great next-generation video iPod with a web browser, email client, contact and calendar tools, Google Maps, a camera, and whatever other widgets Apple chooses to include - all still powered by the multi-touch interface. All of which make the iPhone an attractive device even if can't be used to make calls. It would still be a powerful PDA/iPod/Internet appliance. Of course, releasing an phone-less iPhone isn't something we're likely to see Apple doing in the near future due to the exclusive deal with AT&T/Cingular. And I doubt we'll see the iPhone available to customers under one of AT&T/Cingular's pay as you go plans - which would allow customers to buy the iPhone and then simply never purchase airtime for it. However, I can't help but wonder if some creative soul will find a way to make an iPhone work without it being tied to an AT&T/Cingular account.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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