19 Comments

Summary:

Alumnus of The Apple Blog, Chris Holland, is back to ranting about his tech-mistress, SIP. And although the concept may sound far-fetched at the onset, the idea at the core is pure genius, and in this writer’s opinion, has Apple written all over it. Chris postulates […]

Alumnus of The Apple Blog, Chris Holland, is back to ranting about his tech-mistress, SIP. And although the concept may sound far-fetched at the onset, the idea at the core is pure genius, and in this writer’s opinion, has Apple written all over it.

Chris postulates the iPhone as being the vehicle Apple will use to create a converged communications device. Huh? Basically, All you as the user of the [iPhone] device care about is calling Bob. You don’t care if you’ve got cell coverage, or wifi access, or where Bob is currently located, you just want him on the other end of the line. The idea being that iPhone takes care of the behind the scenes using SIP (open, worldwide technologies as opposed to various national networks) to connect you from anywhere, on any connection, to anyone.

“Apple could easily roll out its own SIP infrastructure as part of the .Mac framework, increasing their chances of providing a superior out-of-the-box experience, while promoting the .Mac brand to … competitive usefulness. From here, the sky’s the limit as to what Apple can do, leveraging iPhone’s brand and near ubiquitous and still increasing WiFi penetration. Forget about fighting over 3G vs GSM. WiFi and IP are universal WorldWide.”

Chris puts it much more eloquently than I do, and makes some very thought-provoking points. His argument is solid enough that I really could see Apple going in this direction. (Guess they’ll have to wrestle with Cisco over that whole iPhone thing again, should they go for the VOIP space, but that’s another story altogether.)

  1. Interesting for sure. However, the phone isn’t even out yet…maybe we should all just take a little iPhone vacation for the next 9-10 days….and bring stuff up again at that time. Oh, and while you’re all on your iPhone vacation…if you could conveniently forget to go buy one so I have better odds of nabbing one…that would be great. Thanks.

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  2. Brett Johnson Wednesday, June 20, 2007

    Apple’s contract with the carriers almost certainly prohibits this. All the crap about no 3rd party apps on the iPhone has very little to do with “security” and “stability” of the phone, and everything to do with preventing IM and VoIP apps from landing on the phone.

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  3. @Brett : Yeah. The interesting thing though, is that iPhone will ship with iChat. On OS X Desktop, iChat does do “calls”, powered behind-the-scenes by SIP.

    My guess is iPhone’s iChat will not, for now.

    There are probably some creative marketing and UI ways to not bill this as a competing VoIP service, but more like “Internet Conferencing”, though the use case i described in the article indeed tried to mimmic that of a Phone Call.

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  4. My bet is that part of the agreement with Cisco is that the iPhone will support Cisco VOIP. Considering the recent push by Cisco to expand its brand into the consumer market, the cool factor of Apple’s iPhone and other market dynamics it seems very likely.

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  5. Sebhelyesfarku Wednesday, June 20, 2007

    Too bad that on Symbian phones it already works this.

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  6. @John Smith

    Bingo! Apple doesn’t even have to wrestle with Cisco. Cisco wanted the interoperability between iPhone and their system so badly. Noone made a big deal of that because people believed AT&T wouldn’t like VOIP on the iPhone and wouldn’t allow it. However, the agreement is already in place and Cisco wouldn’t push so hard if there is 0% chance of VOIP on the iPhone. Give it some time and it’ll be there.

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  7. Well, I think Google will be the one who provides calls…free or ad-supported, whatever.

    Google Callback. I wrote something about this …

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  8. By the way, WiFi and VoIP clients on handheld devices is nothing new. The Windows handheld devices have had that for years, as those devices are open development platforms, and somehow carriers have allowed this to happen.

    I contend there’s plenty of profit to be made for AT&T to embrace a VoIP move by Apple.

    Doing VoIP over the WiFi interface only is the only sensical way to go, as trying to over the carrier’s data network would induce way too much latency and degrade call quality … okay if you’re toying with Skype or some 3rd-party VoIP app, not okay for a feature that’s baked into the OS.

    So from here, AT&T’s guaranteed that VoIP calls won’t add to their costs, and will actually reduce their operating costs.

    Now, the question becomes “Well then, users will want to buy less minutes!”. Perhaps. But WiFi is not *actually* pervasive. You’re not likely to make WiFi/VoIP calls in your car on your way to work or back from work. So you’ll still want a hefty amount of minutes, as you’d hate to run out of them when you need them the most.

    AT&T’s giving you the ubiquitous infrastructure, and Apple’s giving you the occasional ability to make higher-quality calls for free or cheap.

    Not to mention AT&T could bundle a SIP-based VoIP relay service in their package. If you’re calling another SIP user, that’s un-metered, and if you’re calling someone from the Normal Phone System, well, AT&T’s got your back too by relaying your WiFi/SIP call for you, whenever you’re not going over their towers.

    Possibilities are endless, there are plenty of opportunities to corner the massive adoption of the next generation of communications while making substantial profits.

    VoIP on phones has been around for a while. Dual-mode phones that blur the line between VoIP and Normal Phone Calls are coming. You can be ahead of the curve, or behind the curve.

    I contend Apple won’t be caught dead behind the curve.

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  9. Are Apple’s iPhone Crosshairs on VOIP?…

    apple cisco iphone…

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  10. I wonder if some hack or even directly from google will come out that will allow Google Talk on the phone. When I send voice on google talk it is just as clear as a phone call to me. With unlimited internet that would save me some prime air time.

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