Wishing for an iPhone without the phone

Plus other products we'd love to get our hands on right now

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1. The iPhone 'without the phone'
After watching the 25 minute demo of the iPhone on the Apple website, only the prohibitive airfare and NYC accommodation expenses stopped us flying out to blow $599 on one. And it wouldn't even have worked in the UK.

Since then we've calmed down a bit. Our iPhone review came in and yes, it's pretty good - the UI is revolutionary; web browsing is a dream; the form factor is sublime. But it's not that good. Deep down, we know that version 2.0 of the iPhone is going to be so much better.

Instead, what has really got us excited is the prospect of an iPhone 'without the phone'. Think a 6G, Wi-Fi equipped widescreen iPod that's half mini internet tablet, half multimedia plaything. A deal with Skype (or a similar VoIP giant) would be the icing on this proverbial iPod cake. Would such a device impact iPhone sales? Probably not. VoIP-ing is a very different experience to GSM chit-chat.

2. A 'falcon' Xbox 360
'Falcon' is apparently the codename for the Xbox 360 that will incorporate IBM's smaller, cooler-running processors. These new 65 nanometre chips won't change the way the Xbox 360 handles games or make it run any faster. But they should help Microsoft avoid the catastrophic 'three red lights' or 'red ring of death' problem that has plagued its current 90 nanometre architecture.

Crucially, it should also make the Xbox 360 cheaper to produce and this could potentially ignite a PS3 vs. Xbox 360 price war come Christmas time. Read our previous Xbox 360 'falcon' story.

3. A Pioneer 8G 1080p plasma
Which HD telly technology is the best: plasma or LCD? To be honest, there is no winner. It really depends on the size of TV you want to buy and how much money you're prepared to spend.

At least, that's the sensible, practical viewpoint. If money is no object, then Pioneer 's 8th generation plasma screens are undoubtedly the most impressive HD TVs we've seen this year. Why? A great contrast ratio, superb refresh rate and colours so vivid that, when you see a big Pioneer plasma and a big LCD TV side-by-side, you'll never want to look at an LCD again.

Since I wrote this, we've published a Pioneer PDP-508XD review . See for yourself, while I remind the Pioneer PR department to send me one.

4. The HTC Shift
Ever since my Psion Series 7 died, I've been hunting around for a decent lightweight laptop replacement. There's nothing wrong with the Dell Latitude D620 I use at work, but it's heavy - its easy portability compromised for the sake of a six-hour battery life.

So, I'm cautiously optimistic, eager even, to see the Shift from HTC . It's got a 7-inch touch-sensitive screen, 30GB hard drive, 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity, and it runs Windows Vista. It sounds ideal for writing and working on the move.

5. A Denon AVR-4308 home cinema receiver
It may not be the ultimate home cinema box, but this £2K receiver from Denon promises to come pretty close. For as well as belting out 140W in 7.1-channels, the AVR-4308 is also full HD capable, has a built-in DAB tuner and can handle almost any audio or video codec you care to throw its way. Sheesh, and did we mention that it has built-in Wi-Fi as well? I can't wait until it lands in September.

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