Third-party VoIP app for the iPhone - How will Apple respond to this?

Third-party VoIP app for the iPhone - How will Apple respond to this?

Summary: So, the first VoIP client for the iPhone is out. A free VoIP client at that. What will Steve Jobs make of this?

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So, the first VoIP client for the iPhone is out. A free VoIP client at that. What will Steve Jobs make of this?

fringTo make fring work on your iPhone you do need a jailbroken device (and no, it won't work on the iPod touch because you don't have a microphone and speaker [UPDATE 04/16/01: Unless you add a touchmod mic ...]), but this could be a pretty compelling reason for unlocking the iPhone to third-party applications, especially given that AT&T offer unlimited data on all iPhone plans.

I'm going to guess that this is the kind of thing that carriers such as AT&T aren't going to be thrilled about. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that it is exactly the reason why carriers don't like the idea of jailbroken iPhones. After all, this sort of application cuts them out of the loop with regards to monthly minutes. Fewer voice calls means fewer charges. Unlimited data and a limited number of minutes on the plan (for all plans except the $119.99 plan) means that users who jailbreak their iPhones will be able to push an awful lot of data over the network and not have to pay a cent for it. iPhone users have already shown that they have a voracious appetite for data, and a free VoIP application is only going to make things worse for the carriers.

If I were the owner of a jailbroken iPhone I'd now be on the lookout for a volley of updates from to try to make life harder of the jailbreakers. I don't expect Apple to be successful in closing the door on those wanting to set the iPhone free, but I'm sure it's possible to make the process a little trickier, and therefore put people off jailbreaking in the first place.

Thoughts?

Topics: Telcos, Apple, iPhone, Mobility, Networking, Unified Comms

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10 comments
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  • Third-party VoIP app for the iPhone - How will Apple respond to this?

    Apple shouldn't think too much of this. After all the user does need an iPhone to use this software which means one more sale for Apple. They still have a contract with AT&T and a monthly fee. I'd think everyone wins.

    On a related note: If AT&T are offering unlimited plans would anyone need a VoIP application instead of just making a direct call with the phone itself?
    Loverock Davidson
  • iPhone: The Bigger Picture

    The iPhone is not a phone. It's a personal computer
    disguised as one.

    The iPhone has thrown the focus from the plan to the
    device. The plans now have to compete not only with each
    other, but also with the device's ability to adapt.
    Competition breeds downward pressure on price.

    But there's more.

    Competition doesn't stop there. The iPhone has opened up
    a new arena of competition. One where the plan vendors
    not only compete with other vendors for users, but also for
    the desirable device. Apple didn't stimulate this
    competition by making the iPhone available to every carrier
    at once. Rather, they take on the highest "bidder". The bid
    represents a package composed of 2 things, one is the
    vendors ability to provide service to the iPhone user, the
    other is the bidder's incentives back to Apple. Expect
    Apple to cycle plan vendors.

    3 kinds of competition breaks up the collusion that was
    gaining traction. It will turn the "precious" plan into a
    commodity and into infrastructure. It will put the focus
    back where it should be. On software.

    How does VIOP fit in? It's software, and Apple will
    champion it all eventually. Expect a Touch with a mic.
    Harry Bardal
    • You mean like my 5 year old iPAQ?

      [i]How does VIOP fit in? It's software, and Apple will
      champion it all eventually. Expect a Touch with a mic.[/i]

      I've been doing Skype with my 5 year old iPAQ for... well... 5 years! So yes, the time is just about right for Apple to release a Touch with a mic and then claim to have invented the portable VOIP device. ;)
      NonZealot
      • Competition is Good

        I would expect HP to welcome the competition. I don't ever
        mean to imply that the iPhone isn't "late" or that these
        things are not available from many sources already. Any
        business works on the basis of risk and reward at any
        given time or in any given place. HP will set it's
        investments and inertia against that of Apple, and if they
        coexist they will undoubtedly compete.

        You seem to be continuously missing my central premise.
        The "winners" are simply those who endorse a competitive
        landscape. That landscape is defined as the space between
        technologies and increasingly, it's clear that technology is
        defined by code and not silicon. Put simply, competition
        between OS's is vital, while competition between hardware
        is trivial and as it stands, largely feudal in nature.

        iPAQ makes the Touch better and vice versa.

        Are you going to disagree with me on any of these points?
        If you don't, go back and re read all my posts and
        understand that this is the lobby. It needn't be an Apple
        thing. Apple is a convenient foil. Is this sinking in?
        Harry Bardal
  • RE: Third-party VoIP app for the iPhone - How will Apple respond to this?

    Whn is your faxtion with everything iApple going to end, Aido?
    Big Scoddie
    • What? So the Man can't comment on new technology on a tech site???

      C'mon! This is a technology site. If you don't want to read about new technology, then find a new site. You apparently don't have an iphone. :-) It shows! :-)
      andrej770
      • LOL

        Yeah, God-forbid a man with a blog titled "Hardware 2.0" posts an article about, gasp, hardware!!!
        Hallowed are the Ori
  • Rah-Rah!!! Sitz-boom-ba!!!!!

    Gooooooo team!!!!!
    Hallowed are the Ori
    • Wellllll.... damn.

      The above was supposed to be a reply to Harry, the eloquent Apple shill/cheerleader, Bardal.

      But once again, this forum's lame-assed lack of a preview feature prevents an error from being caught.
      Hallowed are the Ori
  • Rename this Blog iApple/Vista

    You are right, I do not own an iPhoney. I have no intention of ever owning one. You are also completely correct when you state that the name of this blog is "Hardware 2.0". Congratulations.

    Anyway, I would have thought that the name of the blog would indicate that it covers a wide variety of hardware, not just iApple and operating systems.

    If you care to check Aido's postings over the last 6 months, I would suggest iApple and Windows Vista articles would far outnumber anything about general hardware.

    So you're right, again, "God forbid he write about hardware!!"
    Big Scoddie