Pocket PC users can get the look and feel of the iPhone before the iPhone even hits the shelves.
Despite efforts by Apple to block it, a small software program that gives Microsoft Pocket PCs a user interface that looks much like the iPhone's is still available online.
A blogger who says he's a lawyer in Poland has posted the software on his website, offering it to anyone who wants to download and use it.
The move follows an incident that has unfolded over the last few weeks. It started when a software developer, who goes by the name Youmolo and appears to live in Malaysia, posted a video on YouTube in late February of how his software works. On 2 March, he wrote on his blog that after he posted the video, his blog received almost 5,000 visitors in five hours, too much for the site to handle.
Still, those visitors who managed to get through may have been disappointed to find that he wasn't distributing the software. "A lot of people have asked me to send them the iPhone software that was featured in the video. The short answer is no. I cannot do that because I'll get sued," he wrote on his blog.
The next day, Youmolo wrote that the video had been removed from YouTube. He later posted a letter he said he received from YouTube, saying that the video had been taken down due to a request from Apple.
At Apple's request
Youmolo has also posted a letter that purports to be from an Apple lawyer, requesting that he stop developing and distributing the software, remove postings of the software or videos featuring the software from any websites and destroy any portions of the software that infringe on Apple's rights.
But on 1 April, a Polish blogger and lawyer, Tomasz Rychlicki, began hosting the software on his site, inviting anyone to download it. He argues that Apple doesn't have a right to claim copyright on the icons or wallpaper images included in the software. He also says that because the iPhone isn't available yet, the software programmer couldn't have copied it.
Even though YouTube has removed the video from its site, users have repeatedly re-posted it. In the video, Youmolo says he has written software to make a Pocket PC phone have the look and feel of the iPhone. "Hello everyone. Today I am going to show you the Pocket PC version of the iPhone," he says at the start of the video.
He shows a phone called the E-TEN M600 that has a start page that looks like the screen shots Apple has released of the iPhone. Users run their finger along a bar at the bottom of the screen to unlock it. The next screen is full of icons, also similar to those released of the iPhone, that when touched lead to various phone functions such as calendar, camera, clock, notes and a phone touchpad for dialing calls. Youmolo wrote the program using Pocket PC software, he said.
The iPhone isn't available in the US until June, and the UK and Europe are unlikely to see the iPhone until the end of the year, but since its introduction early this year has caused a frenzy of anticipation among consumers as well as potential competitors in the mobile phone industry.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the iPhone emulator.