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iCall Brings Seamless VoIP To IPhone Users

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  • So...contracts? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kcbanner (929309) * on Saturday June 07, 2008 @03:53PM (#23695407) Homepage Journal
    I'm surprised that the contract between Apple and AT&T doesn't cover other ways of using the iPhone to call people (ie off AT&T's network). I mean this is great, don't get me wrong, I just expected Apple to not allow these kinds of apps on the iPhone because of a contract issue with AT&T (given their current track record).
    • Re:So...contracts? (Score:5, Informative)

      by MindStalker (22827) <mindstalker&gmail,com> on Saturday June 07, 2008 @04:57PM (#23695909) Journal
      Nope, as mentioned on the site
      Apple has explicitly stated that VoIP is allowed, just not over Edge networks. Steve himself answered this question in the Q&A session after the last keynote speech.

      This is true, someone specifically asked if VoIP is allowed, they stated that as long as its not using AT&Ts network (Edge/ 3G soon) it would be fine.
    • by caseih (160668)
      Why? AT&T gets their monthly fee (including the cost of data plan) every month no matter what the iPhone user does with his phone. The only thing that could possibly cause AT&T heartburn is VoIP calls over the edge network, which of course is prohibited by them and by Apple, probably as much for technical reasons as for political.
      • by kcbanner (929309) *
        Ah, I was under the impression that data was on a $x/mb, so that didn't make sense to me at first.
    • by KH2002 (547812) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @06:02PM (#23696395) Journal
      Since the iPhone SDK doesn't allow for [3rd party] background processes, how are you going to be notified of an incoming VOIP call? Answer: you're not, unless you already happen to be in the VOIP app. So it will be fine for outgoing calls, but pretty limited otherwise...
      • BTW- info on lack of 3rd party background processes in the iPhone SDK here:

        "Mr. Jobs, tear down this wall!" [whydoeseve...ngsuck.com]

      • Since the iPhone SDK doesn't allow for [3rd party] background processes, how are you going to be notified of an incoming VOIP call? Answer: you're not, unless you already happen to be in the VOIP app. So it will be fine for outgoing calls, but pretty limited otherwise...
        If it weren't for the fact that you can "Transfer inbound calls from a regular cell call to WiFi instantly and seamlessly".
        • you mean once the connection charge and minimum call charge have already been made.
          • by Lars T. (470328)

            you mean once the connection charge and minimum call charge have already been made.
            Why would there need to be a connection? The calling number is transmitted without one. Oh wait, you live in the US, they charge you for getting a call, so why not when you call and don't get a connection.
        • I'd have to review some specs, but I'm very curious how they acheive "Transfer inbound calls from a regular cell call to WiFi instantly and seamlessly." There are a few explanations I can think of, but they strike me as very doubtful, or trivial in the case of 0).

          0) You set up call forwarding at the carrier level, to forward to the iCall number. Trivial and not free of charge.

          1) the iCall s/w is able to detect an incoming cell call setup, and induce the iPhone's Air-interface stack to issue a call-forw

          • "Of course, it is a SIP feature" should have been associated w/ 1), rather than 2). SIP allows the terminating endpoint to redirect via the 3xx responses. ISUP (AFAIK) does not. The GSM air-interace (AFAIK) also does not.
            • Random musings on the possibility that the iCall s/w induces redirect behavior during call-setup (w/ the caveat that I'm assuming Iphone/AT&T uses the standard GSM stuff)...

              I'm not sure of the date on this document (GSM Air-Interface [nwgsm.ru]), but see table 7.7 (Call control) where I don't see anything in the messaging that looks like a redirect message during call setup.

              If you look at this ISUP docs you won't see anything there either. ISUP/TUP/etc are pretty basic call setup once the endpoint is known. U

      • I guess it's a little late for this thread, but Apple addressed precisely this issue at their developer's conference yesterday. They will have a solution in September. More info here: "iPhone Background Processing: Not Fixed But Halfway There." [whydoeseve...ngsuck.com]
      • I am assuming this is xferring ONLY YOUR PHONE CALLS THAT ARE INBOUND to your iCall PRO number. Meaning, that it can in no way intercept a call from someone to you over a landline or cell-to-cell system TO YOUR CELL PROVIDER'S # and route it over VOIP. This would SO be a security concern if they COULD , much less DID attempt it. It is both illegal and almost (for cell to cell calls) impossible.

        What it CAN do (within the SDK parameters) is allow you to do the following:

        Just like Grand Central, you go to iCal
    • by MikeFM (12491)
      What I really want is for this to work over an iPod Touch. I'd like to use an iPod as a phone when I have wifi coverage.
      • by kcbanner (929309) *
        Don't you need a mic for that? Or does the iPod touchy have a mic.
        • by MikeFM (12491)
          I assume it doesn't but IMO it should. That'd make it about perfect. Build in a camera and it'd be my ideal device.
  • Although they claim Apple has no issues with VoIP, I can't see Apple allowing such an application on the iPhone when it would threaten their business model. Unless Apple literally buys this and creates a proprietary system for coordinating it that prevents a scenario where it's used only for VoIP communication anytime you're within range of any open WiFi access point.
    • Re:uhhh, no (Score:5, Informative)

      by drhamad (868567) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @04:35PM (#23695689)
      Apple has SPECIFICALLY stated that VOIP is just fine, as long as it's WiFi only.

      It makes sense: it reduces stress on AT&T's network, AND makes Apple's users happy.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Apple has SPECIFICALLY stated that VOIP is just fine, as long as it's WiFi only.

        It makes sense: it reduces stress on AT&T's network, AND makes Apple's users happy.


        Makes sense? Why? Apple/AT&T says the data plan is unlimited. Give me my unlimited data and let me do what I want with it.

        If only you were using a real cell phone from a real company (Nokia/Blackberry/Motorola) with a regular SDK and documentation, you wouldn't have to go through this kind of crap from Apple.

        If my data plan isn't unlimited
        • This is the way I'd really love to manage my personal communications. Give me a data line (wired or wireless, whatever the circumstances demand), and then have a total 3rd party manage phone numbers, call-routing, voice-mail etc. Anything short of that gives the telecoms too much integrated monopoly power.
        • Makes sense? Why? Apple/AT&T says the data plan is unlimited. Give me my unlimited data and let me do what I want with it.

          Because it was one of AT&T's conditions for agreeing to sell the iPhone while providing it with all the network services Apple needed to make it work seamlessly. Would we all prefer we could do anything, sure we do. Should AT&T be allowed to place such restrictions, probably not. Now all you have to do is convince our politicians that listening to you and doing what is right for the people is better than letting AT&T do whatever makes them the most money.

        • by yabos (719499)
          EDGE is not very fast and for VOIP you need some low latency which EDGE doesn't seem to provide most of the time. When they go to 3G then we'll see what happens.
  • by Strange Ranger (454494) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @04:15PM (#23695549)
    iWould love to make iCalls on my iPhone.
    Although iWaiting for iPhone 2's release.
    iDon't pay high sums for year-old tech.
  • by richardtallent (309050) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @07:44PM (#23696941) Homepage
    IIRC, the iPod Touch doesn't have a microphone, but I wonder whether (a) headset mics are still accessible, and (b) if iCall will support them?
  • That's one of the worst demo videos I've ever watched! They ought to enlist the help of a broadcast or film student to re-shoot the thing with proper audio someday. Unless it was a deliberate choice to bury the guys' voices underneath cacophonic street noise and obnoxious looping soundtrack...

    And apparently the cafe that the guy was sitting at was actually a zoo? (every time his level was brought up, there were shreiking sounds that carried above his voice or the ambient street noise)

    Wow.

    -b
  • First legal one? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by josath (460165) on Sunday June 08, 2008 @03:56AM (#23698863) Homepage
    What's this subtle wording here, implying that it's illegal to run non-apple approved applications on your iPhone? It really shows the sorry state of things these days, that people can believe there is anything wrong with running software on a device they own. I enjoy the many reverse engineers who perform their completely legal work in order to let me get more use out of a device that I paid for.

    If I want to run a freeware/open source drawing application on my Nintendo DS that lets me save PNG files on a SD card, should that be illegal since it's not approved by Nintendo? Should I be forced to buy their crappy paint-by-numbers 'game' that's not even for sale in the US?

    There are so many possibilities out there, that the hardware companies try to stop you from doing, because they are afraid of losing control. When in reality it doesn't stop piracy any, it only hurts the people who want to write their own code, and add new features. Take the Wii for example, it was possible to illegally pirate games for months before anyone hacked a way of running their own code. Well...I'm already quite offtopic, I better stop here.
    • Subtle as a brick. (Score:4, Informative)

      by StarKruzr (74642) on Sunday June 08, 2008 @04:52AM (#23698999) Journal
      The implication is quite evident, and I wholly agree with you.

      If I want to run a freeware/open source drawing application on my Nintendo DS that lets me save PNG files on a SD card, should that be illegal since it's not approved by Nintendo?

      People honestly believe that corporations can write laws.
    • I do wish Apple would open up the iPhone, but I don't think there's a legal hammer involved if you put unauthorized software on your iPhone, is there? I thought it was just the voiding of the warranty (and non-distribution via iTunes.)
  • Since it sounds like the application relies on your regular cell coverage in order to switch over a received call, this might mean that you won't be able to receive calls unless you've got regular AT&T cell coverage. I wonder if you could switch over from a roaming network?

    It'll be interesting to see how this plays out and how it compares with T-Mobile's Hotspot@Home.

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