VOIP Wars: Apple to take on Skype?

VOIP Wars: Apple to take on Skype?

Summary: A recent screen shot that surfaced at TUAW gives creedance to rumors that Apple is morphing their iChat instant messenging application into a full-blown Voice Ove Inter Protocol (VOIP) client.

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TOPICS: Apple
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A recent screen shot that surfaced at TUAW gives credence to rumors that Apple is morphing their iChat instant messenging application into a full-blown Voice Over Inter Protocol (VOIP) client.

The version in the shot (iChat 4.0 v454) is presumably a beta from a recent Mac OS 10.5 (Leopard) development build. Whether or not the feature is real or will actually arrive in 10.5 is up for debate. In the screen shot Apple has dropped the "AV" in the name instead reverting back to just "iChat."

The exciting part is a new option in the preferences dialog for "Answering." The options under it allow users to record an outgoing greeting that would play for callers that reached you while you were away from your computer - as weird as that sounds. Think voicemail for iChat. The Answering icon is kind of hokey (as beta icons can be) so the skeptic in me thinks that it could also be a Photoshop job. Keep those expectations in check people! 

Apple started down the VOIP path when they added audio and video conferencing to iChat rebranding it as "iChat AV" in June 2003. iChat screen sharing is a new feature promised for Mac OS 10.5 Leopard.

If Apple is moving into VOIP with iChat I hope that the experience is better that it is currently (with iChat AV 3.1.6 v441). I don't know about you, but I can only get a video conference going about about every one in ten tries and even then the video usually dies after less than a minute. And with iSight cameras being built into all MacBooks and iMac I was optimistic that the experience would be better. In fact I switched back to iChat from Adium because of the camera built into my MacBook Pro.

An while we're discussing IM, iChat desperately needs interoperability with Yahoo! and MSN. C'mon Apple!

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Topic: Apple

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4 comments
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  • So much for Get a Mac - It Just Works!

    [i]If Apple is moving into VOIP with iChat I hope that the experience is better that it is currently (with iChat AV 3.1.6 v441). I don't know about you, but I can only get a video conference going about about every one in ten tries and even then the video usually dies after less than a minute.[/i]
    NonZealot
  • Take on Skype? How?

    First off. To take on Skype Apple will need to write in support for P2P.

    Second, yy Skype works just fine and I might add the new [url=http://www.netgear.com/About/PressReleases/en-US/2007/20070107d.aspx]NetGear DECT cordless Skype Phone[/url] works great!

    Third, the price $14.95/year for Skype unlimited US/Canada long-distance calling (offer good thru 1/31/07, now $29.95/year) is hard to beat!!

    Far out and Peace! ;)
    D T Schmitz
  • It would make more sense to partner with Skype

    Why would Apple partner with MSN or Yahoo? Microsoft being their big rivals, and Yahoo being, if not in bed with MSN, at least in the same room, taking it's clothes off.

    It would make far more sense for them to partner with Skype. They have similar business models and should be good fit
    StevoCJ
  • Partnerships

    Who cares if MSN and Yahoo are competitors, I would love to actually use iChat for a change...

    I think adding functionality with other clients is a good thing. Living on both sides of the pond, many people in the UK prefer MSN whilst most people in the USA use AIM, I think it would make perfect sense to add compatability with those IM clients with video conferencing added in.
    dazzerm