Look carefully at the image to the left. This is not an iPhone. It is an iPod touch with something that looks just like a thumbtack stuck into the bottom of it.
This thing is actually called a Thumbtack and you can buy one and stick it into your iPod Touch. You can then go to the Apps Store and download a free copy of Skype.
And then you can make Skype calls whenever you’re in range of a wi-fi connection, which for someone like me is nearly all the time.
Obviously this is not a replacement for a mobiile phone. When you’re out of range of wi-fi, it won’t do you any good.
But when you think of all the reasons why people buy iPhones, an iPod Touch would do just as well — except that it can’t make calls. Now it can.
The Thumbtack won’t work with earlier versions of the iPod Touch and anyway, last year’s version didn’t have an external speaker.
I just completed a long Skype call to a friend and the sound quality was perfect and it worked just like a phone. No headsets — you just held it up to your head as you would a normal iPhone.
Why is this so interesting? Why not just buy an iPhone?
Do the math. An iPhone (8 GB) will set you back — and this is the cheapest deal in the UK at the moment — £96.89, plus £29.38 a month for 18 months. In other words, total cost of ownership for the first 18 months is £625.73.
The cost of an iPod Touch (8 GB) is £165. (The Thumback costs $15.99.)
Obviously, the iPod Touch cannot do everything an iPhone can do. It cannot make phone calls outside of wi-fi network. But it can do everything else — including making phone calls to ordinary phones (for a small fee).
It’s something to think about.