iPhone Family finally arrives, launched by Linksys, not Apple Computers

iPhone Family from Linksys

This Monday, the much awaited iPhone was finally launched. But this is not the same iPhone that we kept reporting about (The phone cum digital music player that was rumored to be launched by Apple Computers.) The new iPhone that has hit the market isn’t a mobile phone and has absolutely nothing to do with Apple (Apart from the small “I” prefix).

The newly launched iPhone has been introduced by Linksys, which is a unit of networking equipment maker Cisco Systems. The Linksys iPhone is a wireless Internet phone. The Linksys iPhones include: iPhone Cordless Internet Telephony Kit CIT200; iPhone Dual-Mode Internet Telephony Kit CIT300; iPhone Dual-Mode Cordless Phone for Yahoo! Messenger with Voice CIT310; iPhone Dual-Mode Internet Telephony Kit for Skype CIT400; iPhone Wireless-G IP Phone WIP300; iPhone Wireless-G IP Phone with Web Browser WIP330; and iPhone Wireless-G Phone for Skype WIP320.

The Linksys iPhone allows its users to make free or low-cost Internet phone calls, using the Skype Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service.

With the iPhone Dual-Mode Internet Telephony Kit CIT300, consumers can access information in a convenient and timely manner, without having to rummage through a phone book or a computer to find say – a phone number.

The iPhone Dual-Mode Internet Telephony Kit for Skype CIT400 embeds the communications client into a cordless phone base station, which is directly attached to the home network via Ethernet, thus making it easy to place calls to other Skype users, mobile phones, or landlines without having to turn-on the computer.

The iPhone Wireless-G IP Phone with Web Browser WIP330 integrates popular standards-based SIP VoIP protocol, and can be used to access music and photos, and for streaming video from the Internet.

The Linksys iPhone Wireless-G Phone for Skype WIP320 integrates Skype into a Wireless-G handset, making it portable, and allowing consumers to place calls from anywhere they can connect to a wireless access point.

Apparently, everyone was expecting Apple to launch its highly awaited iPhone in the near future. But it looks like Linksys beat Apple in this race, and introduced their version of the Linksys iPhone just weeks before Apple was expected to launch the device, which was widely expected to have the same name.

Networking equipment maker Cisco has owned the iPhone brand since 2000, when it acquired Infogear, an Internet appliance company. Infogear had come out with a product known as the iPhone way back in 1997. Later on in 2003, Cisco acquired the Linksys consumer home-networking company.

Earlier this year, Apple attempted to trademark the iPhone name, and this in fact, lead to speculation that their upcoming product would be of the same name. Apple Computers had also registered a web site domain name, iphone.org. If this is true, then keeping mum (which was apple’s game plan all the while) has proven to be unfruitful.

Speaking at the launch, Mike Pocock, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Linksys, said, “As the next generation of handheld devices, Linksys iPhone voice solutions and products are changing the way people communicate with their friends, family, and colleagues. They enable compelling Internet services, allow consumers to know when their contacts are available for calls, and offer access to personal content like music, movies and live video cameras.”