Will pre-teens really adopt the new iPod touch as a VoIP phone?

Will pre-teens really adopt the new iPod touch as a VoIP phone?

Summary: I generally agree with my friend Andy Abramsom and greatly respect his opinion. He posted today on why he thinks the upcoming rumored iPod touch will be huge for VoIP and multimedia, but I don't think it will have as big of an impact with the teen crowd as he indicates. This new device is rumored to have an integrated microphone, digital camera, and 64GB of memory. I agree that the savvy traveler may desire to use this new device to connect via WiFi and place and receive inexpensive VoIP calls. However, this same traveler can do this now with the iPhone and SIM card removed so I don't think there will be a huge impact in iPod touch sales due to the microphone

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I generally agree with my friend Andy Abramsom and greatly respect his opinion. He posted today on why he thinks the upcoming rumored iPod touch will be huge for VoIP and multimedia, but I don't think it will have as big of an impact with the teen crowd as he indicates. This new device is rumored to have an integrated microphone, digital camera, and 64GB of memory. I agree that the savvy traveler may desire to use this new device to connect via WiFi and place and receive inexpensive VoIP calls. However, this same traveler can do this now with the iPhone and SIM card removed so I don't think there will be a huge impact in iPod touch sales due to the microphone.

Andy sees disruptive uptake in the pre-teen who needs a phone, but cannot afford a contract. As a father of a couple of teen daughters, who have cell phones and an iPod touch, I honestly cannot see an iPod touch serving as a phone replacement for a couple of reasons. My girls text 90% of the time they use their phone and the only time they really place calls is to me and my wife. Also, in order to use the iPod touch as a phone they would have to be connected to a WiFi hotspot and the only place they really have that access is at home where they can just connect to their IM client and chat today. I would like to hear more about the basis behind Andy's belief that pre-teens will use the iPod touch via VoIP. Another issue is the training and education needed to enable VoIP, but I suppose this can be a simple experience through applications like Truphone and Skype.

Given how much fun my daughters have with the Nintendo DSi's rather limited camera, I do think that the addition of the camera can have a huge impact on iPod touch sales for those younger consumers. I imagine Apple or third party developers will also come out with software similar to what we see on the DSi so that people can have a lot of fun manipulating photos and video footage. We may soon see some crazy videos on YouTube, but I think it is also important for parents to keep an eye on what is being posted for the world to see from their kids. It looks like the iPod touch could add another item to a parent's list of things to closely monitor as they seek to keep their children safe.

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

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16 comments
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  • NO! Apple will block VOIP apps

    Ones like Ventrillo and TeamSpeak will be blocked (if they plan on making an app).

    some have already been blocked... I forget the names. But ones like Skype and Fring are allowed since you have to pay for the VoIP service or only make Fring to Fring calls.

    Oh, and this is nothing new. You can use the headset from the iPhone on the older iTouch and make the same VoIP calls.
    Maarek
    • Don't be absurd...

      Apple isn't going to block any VOIP apps, Skype, TruPhone and Fring are already there. Of COURSE they can't allow IP calls over the Cell Network since it's so weak, but that network is dead in the 10-15 time frame so "teens" won't care.

      It's WiMax for everyone that will end all the cell monopolies.

      Apple has recently patented Cell to WiFi seamless handoff technology, so the writing is on the wall... so companies like AT$T and Veri$on are toast in that same 10-15 time frame.

      Apple has this all planned out, just watch...

      -

      Pederson
      • @Pederson

        Agree that Apple won't block VOIP, now that the cat is out of the bag, and since AT&T don't really have leverage over the Touch. I *do* think the delay in getting a SDK for the iPhone and some of the limitations in that same SDK is due to pressure from AT&T to keep VOIP out.

        Just a couple of corrections re. some of your other points:

        - You can absolutely run VOIP over a 3G network. I do it all the time and it works beutifully, particulary if you set up VOIP to use the GSM voice codecs, which means the amount of data tranferred is the same. (This is using my Nokia, which comes with a VOIP client built-in -- which is one reason why US carriers don't like Nokia much anymore...).

        - The future of Wimax is looking a *lot* less bright than a couple of years ago. Really looks like LTE will win that battle, for better or for worse.

        - Not familiar with the Apple patents you are talking about, but Cell to WiFi and back has already been fielded for several yeaars, by BT in the UK and even by T-Mobile in Washington state, so as a concept that's not that groundbreaking.

        The carriers *will* have to embrace VOIP at some point anyway, IMO -- but unfortunately I think you are overestimating the impact it will have in general. What is really needed here is more competition -- compared to Asia and Europe there are far too few carriers, with far too much power...
        tw01
        • Chinese example

          In China, one of the mobile phone companies is building a network of Wimax in cities and is competing with the standard CDMA and GSM distributers strictly with VOIP over Wimax. They claim that it is a much cheaper way to build a network.

          Will this be widespread enough to have Wimax chips in all our phones?
          jorjitop
    • Nope?

      Apple has never blocked VOIP apps using WiFi and since the iPod Touch only
      uses WiFi, this will not be a problem.

      The iPod touch is Apple's secret mobile weapon, it allows them to effectively
      double their Mobile OS market with no baggage from AT&T or any other telco
      anywhere in the world. It allows them to compete with PSP and Nintendo DS
      in the under 16 age bracket. It allows developers to have a huge potential
      market as opposed to a large potential market.

      A new iPod touch with camera and mic will blow the doors off the Christmas
      season. My 11 year old son is just waiting to buy it when it comes out.

      I wonder if China is allowing sales of iPod Touches? If so, Apple should flood
      that market with them, just to show how ridiculous the lack of wifi on the
      iPhone will be.
      Synthmeister
  • Great, another way for teens to get in trouble

    There isn't enough trouble now with teens using cellphones with cameras "sexting" each other? Now they can use their music player to do it too?

    And why the focus on pre-teens? My son had a cellphone when he was ten. In Asia its common to see kids in Singapore, Seoul and Tokyo with cellphones when they are school age.
    terry flores
  • Universal pipeline

    Clearly cellular technology is on its way out, so why
    shouldn't Apple anticipate this shift? The iPhone
    broke Apple into the public eye for advanced mobile
    devices. They were hamstrung by AT&T at the
    beginning, but only because they needed a (gullible?)
    carrier to work with.

    At this point, what's to stop Apple from creating
    their own VoIP service? They seem capable of
    undermining the entire wireless telco industry with
    one device and some new software.
    odcchaz
    • This is one of the few instances where i would root for apple

      I dont like boheamoths.. but in this case.. they are sticking it to even bigger a-holes.

      I think even true mobile saw this coming and says you can make calls via wifi spots. I think once wimax is all over.. cell phone providers will be dead.

      I did hear that sprint is hooking all their towers right to the internet. This may mean that they are too antipating this move.
      Been_Done_Before
    • The greatest failure of the last tech generation

      You hit on the greatest failure of the last tech generation: universal digital service. The IT sector saw it coming, the telcos saw it coming and built every roadblock they could think of to stop it, hell even Al Gore saw it coming.

      So where is it? Why do I have to use four different technologies and four different "addresses" to get a call at home, on my cellphone, in my office, or a message by email?? It's ludicrous when you think about it.

      If Apple is a monopoly, at least they are an up-to-date monopoly. ATT and their telco sisters are not only monopolies, they are mastodons, obsolete and flailing about wildly to protect themselves from the extinction they so richly deserve.

      Go Apple!
      terry flores
  • RE: Will pre-teens really adopt the new iPod touch as a VoIP phone?

    I can already use Skype on my iTouch 3.0. Just takes the normal iPhone headphone & mic.
    lou@...
    • So do I...

      Actually, I tried out 4 or 5 different VOIP services that work fine for me over WiFi, before settling with Skype. Except for the addition of the camera-I don't understand what all the scurry is about. Oh, and BTW-agreeing with the above commenter-I doubt I'll lose a second of time grieving for the multi-trillion dollar telecom industry who's been ripping us off for every dime they can get for years....
      GO APPLE!!!!!!
      LostAndFound07
  • Video VoIP possible w/ screen side camera?

    I know that you can use VoIP to make voice calls, but when
    i think of VoIP or services such as Skype, it brings to mind
    Video Calls. so i wonder, would these same sytems be able
    to handle video? 3G? wimax? regular cell signals.

    if the next iPod Touch had a camera on the same side as
    the screen, (which i think is totally doable, just look at the
    tiny little iSight camera on macbooks) it would be the ideal
    set up for Video VoIP anywhere anytime.

    of couse it would be cool to have a camera on both sides
    of the device, and i don't know enough about the
    technology involved to know if it could even handle Video
    data.

    i'm done ranting now.... *takes breath

    any ideas about that possibility?

    earthserpent
  • RE: Will pre-teens really adopt the new iPod touch as a VoIP phone?

    One word: Boingo.

    And a link:
    http://mobile.boingo.com/
    sea_ferry
  • voip providers

    There are a lot of VoIP providers. They are propose cheap international calls. Catalog of voip providers.

    http://www.voip-catalog.com/
    Nik8
  • RE: Will pre-teens really adopt the new iPod touch as a VoIP phone?

    Apple Tablet may be launched this Christmas or
    possibly as early as September. I hope this will be
    another great rally for apple earnings. I will buy one
    of this for sure. The iphone started to be too little
    to stay all the day looking things. I am a great fan
    of apple product so started collecting all the
    information (more than 200 sites) about Apple
    Tablet(News, Videos, Pics, Pre reviews, Rumors etc.,).
    If you are interested take a look at the below link
    http://markthispage.blogspot.com/2009/07/apple-tablet-
    large-iphone-or-ipod-touch.html
    kotla_sr@...
  • RE: Will pre-teens really adopt the new iPod touch as a VoIP phone?

    heyy im a teen at the moment and unlike many other teens i know, i am a little more mature. and seeing this article almost offends me! only jokin :)
    nahh i realy think u got it wrong cose we lov having all the latest stuff! now i in particular havnt had an ipod watsoever (1 old MP3 only) am sooo excited about this new one cose iv saved up a bit and am willing to get this for my own enjoyment and i am sure many other teens would too. (at least i know all my friends are gonna get it :P )
    nishi7cool