You’ve been asking for the price and availability of the Apple Peel 520, the magical case which transforms your old iPod touch into an iPhone.
Chinese tech site PConline has just done a review on the final retail version and we are now bringing the whole review to you, in English! This could be the final article you would be reading before buying this Apple Peel 520.
The Apple Peel 520 may be called the greatest accessory for an iPod touch. It turns your iPod touch into a device fully capable of making / receiving calls as well as texts. This incredible slip-on case first showed up in August, we did a review on it, and it seems like the whole world of iPod touch owners got amazed by the cheeky hack. Although it first appeared as a dull black silicon case with a few technical glitches, the latest retail version we have here is fully remixed, with bugs fixed and features a durable hard shell. Here’s the official price: 520 yuan (about $77). Available in eight brilliant colors.
This is the packaging of the new Apple Peel 520.
Opening the packaging box, you will see the Apple Peel and a battery. It’s pretty easy to get started.
Since this is a “demo unit”, there are no instruction manuals and warranty card included in the packaging. Pretty simple…
The biggest difference on this final retail version with the first prototype is the material. Unlike the old silicon body, it now offers a durable hard shell wrapped in a matte material that is easy to grip.
The front part looks pretty nice and neat, but the back is designed like any mobile phones. Users need to rip open the back cover to get to the battery and SIM card slot. We are not sure why “Patent Pending” is printed on the back… Maybe it’s because of the recent patent app from Apple…
It’s obviously thicker than the iPod touch (2nd/3rd gen).
On this retail version, the overall design and finish is better than the first prototype. The circuit board of the dock connector is also covered in pieces of insulating plastic film, for protection use.
There’s a dock connector on the external side of the Apple peel! It’s for charging use but we are not sure if it supports data syncing.
Volume buttons are available too.
You have to put your thumb on the spot circled in red and use a pull back force to remove the back cover.
The 1200mAh battery provides 5 hours of call time or 120 hours of standby juice. Pretty impressive.
Starting from the left, there’s a reset button, the battery connector and the SIM card slot.
Before installing your iPod touch into the case, you need to remove the back cover first.
After removing the back cover, you will get a big opening on the top to slot the iPod touch into it.
This is the view from the top, looking at the dock connector located at the bottom part of the case.
Just follow the arrow to slot the device into the case. It fits really well.
Users need to match the dock connector to the iPod touch carefully.
You can check out the internal sides to dismantle the front panel of the case. This allows users to install the iPod touch in a confortable way.
Oh, you’ll need to jailbreak your device first to obtain the voice calling and text messaging functions. Below is a video showing how the phone call works on the jailbroken iPod touch with Apple Peel. The device is running the old 3.1.3 firmware with the Yosion and YsSMS apps installed.
To make a call, just tap the Yosion app and it will bring you to the dialer screen. You can access the setting by tapping the bottom icon to check the communication module is activated or not. You will see the signal bars and battery icon on the middle of the status bar when the communication module is switched on.
After the installation of the required software, Yosion and YsSMS icons will appear on the homescreen. Theese two apps supports Chinese Simplified and English language.
Users can access the settings in the Yosion app to switch on the GPRS, vibration and ringtone. Managing contacts is also available.
The touchscreen will be locked during a phone call and users need to slide to unlock for hanging up the current call or carrying out other tasks.
It has great call quality but there are some disadvantages. The screen will not light up when there’s an incoming call, and it does not shut off when the user holds the device up to their ear. Well, the device lacks a proximity sensor…
Importing of SIM contacts works very well on the device. Here’s one more video showing the text messaging function on the device.
Just like the iPhone, you can choose a contact to text message. When a new message is received, a notification will appear too. The speed for sending / receiving of text messages is normal, but the name of the sender cannot be displayed in the new message notification. What’s more, the device does not allow you to type SMS in landscape mode…
This Apple Peel 520 retail version is not perfect. According to PConline, the cellular signal of the device is unstable and Yosion is currently solving this issue. For voice calling, the incoming caller name and number cannot be displayed, a software update for the Yosion app could fix the problem. It’s maybe a sad thing to see that ringtones and SMS tones are not customizable, the device will only give you a vibration and a normal ringtone. The call volume is impossible to adjust and screen does not light up with incoming call. As for the text messaging function, the name of the sender will not appear in new message notification and the app does not allow you to type message in landscape mode. Looking at all these disadvantages, we think these bad stuff could be fixed through software updates for the Yosion and YsSMS apps.
Speaking of overall, it’s definitely a must-have item for old generations iPod touch. It only supports GSM and Edge networks, no 3G. Jailbreak is needed for the Yosion apps to work, any firmware above 3.0 is supported. It may support the new iPod touch in the future, since Yosion needs to wait for the new jailbreak for iOS 4.1 first. So, if you are interested to get one for 520 yuan ($77), you can visit its official Taobao store or just drop us a message on our Twitter and we will try our best to help you with the purchasing.