There's a new product called an iPhone on the market as of Monday, but it's not a mobile phone and it has nothing to do with Apple Computers.
Linksys, a unit of networking equipment maker Cisco Systems, introduced the new wireless internet phone just weeks before Apple was expected to launch a device widely expected to have a similar name.
The Linksys product allows users to make free or low-cost internet phone calls using the Skype Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service.
Apple has branded many of its products with the signature small "i" prefix. But the maker of the iBook laptop and iPod digital music player appears to have run into a trademark roadblock for its expected mobile phone product.
Cisco has owned the iPhone brand since 2000, when it acquired Infogear, an internet appliance company that came out with a product called the iPhone in 1997. Cisco acquired the Linksys consumer home-networking company in 2003.
Apple was rumoured to have attempted to trademark the iPhone name earlier this year, leading to speculation it would be the name of a new phone product expected for release in 2007. The company had even registered a website domain name, iphone.org.
Apple has neither confirmed nor denied that it is working on a mobile phone, though Apple CEO Steve Jobs is expected to make some kind of announcement at the Macworld Expo trade show in San Francisco on Jan. 9.
Analysts expect the new product will combine features of the iPod with that of a mobile phone.