iPhone 4 image by apple.com

A big pat in the back is in order for the Apple marketing department as the much awaited iPhone 4 has been officially announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference 2010. With the exception of the next generation iPhone’s name, you have outdone yourselves again! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it right? You too programmers.

Out of the dozens of new features that the device offers, the one that I have a gripe with is the proprietary Apple FaceTime. As Vice President of Marketing Greg Joswiak says,

“we’re bringing video calling to the world!”

What a bunch of crap! I know that you may manage to fool the blind following flocks of sheep but sorry to break it to you Mr. Joswiak, video calling HAS already been brought to the world. There is a little something called Skype. You’re only bringing proprietary video calling to the “iPhone world.”

Sorry Junior

Sorry Junior Daddy needs WiFi to see you while he's away

Facetime allows iPhone-4-to-iPhone-4 users the ability to see and hear each other in a video call over WiFi only. What happens however when I want to video chat with my friend that doesn’t have an iPhone 4? Guess we’re out of luck, unless we pony on up and join the exclusive Apple regime. Note that the FaceTime feature can only be used with a WiFi connection for both caller and receiver. I’m sure AT&T sighed with relief when they heard about this, their 3G network is so bottle-necked right now that they decided to take away the unlimited data plans. Sure there are a couple of advantages to FaceTime, there is no need to sign up to a service and the WiFi only connection will make sure video calls are of somewhat reliable and good quality.

What does this mean to Skype and other VoIP services?

No idea, but cnet’s Jessica Dolcourt has some thoughts:

Right now, it looks like nothing too bruising. Wi-Fi and hardware limitations on the iPhone 4 (like that front-facing camera) will keep FaceTime’s audience modest until iPhone 4 sales take off, though not having to register for a new service is sure to attract new users. In the meantime, Skype has a chance to add video calls and other unique features to its iPhone lineup before FaceTime takes off.

More aggressive competitors, like Fring, may even see iPhone’s FaceTime as an opportunity to grab curious new iPhone 4 users. That’s especially if Fring or others manage to one-up the native iOS 4 app with additional features before Apple’s team can add them–such as, perhaps, multiparty calling. (Fring currently supports two-way video calls on iPhone.)

Both Skype and Fring have the added benefit of making calls over 3G (though Skype will soon charge for the privilege) and placing said calls to folks on any mobile platform that their service supports, not just iOS 4. Skype and Fring (which plugs into Skype and SIP) can also conveniently reach people on their computers, mobile phones, and home phones, not just iPhone 4. Are you sensing a theme?

Read full article here

The device itself  is quite a nice looking piece of hardware and the way Apple engineers integrated the antenna into the chassis was quite ingenious. The build style reminds me of a Sony Ericsson phone.

I won’t deny that even I have been awed by the fluidity and simplicity of the interface. My problem is that the sheep just believe that Steve Jobs is a true innovator. The reality is that while he is a viking of marketing all he is doing is pretty much improving on what has already been done. Its the claim that they are bringing this and that to the world that bugs the feathers out of me.

Steve Jobs and company you are a true innovators of marketing with your pretty ads and gimmicks that appeal to the mindless millions NOT an innovator of technology.

GSMArena.com – iPhone4 makes a stormy appereance at WWDC 2010
PhoneArena.com – Meet the Apple iPhone 4

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