Did you hear that the iPhone 4 was released?

It includes some breakthrough technologies such as “Video Conferencing”, so say Wired in their feature post Apple Unveils High-Resolution, Videoconferencing [sic] iPhone 4.

It again boggles the mind, how Apple takes on a well known feature of existing products, tacks a bastardized version of it on a new revision of their product, and everyone hails at how innovative they are…

Here’s the Wired quote:

iPhone 4 includes a front-facing camera and support for videoconferencing with other iPhone 4 users, via a feature called FaceTime.

Here’s what I can do today with my 3 years old Ericsson P1i, my Nokia E-whatever or my fiance’s $20 Nokia (as well as about half of Nokia phones released in the last 8 years or so), and many other phones from other manufacturers:

  • Above mentioned phones include a front-facing camera and support video conferencing with any other phone that supports standard 3G video calls, on any 3G network.

Also, apple announced their own video conferencing protocol (the so called “FaceTime”), as discussed in ReadWriteWeb:

That’s what Apple aims to do with the introduction of FaceTime. The awkwardly named protocol could be implemented by all major handset manufacturers so that consumers could perform video calls as easily as we perform voice calls today.

There is only one problem with that statement: there is already a standard protocol for video calls – as mandated by the cellular industry’s leading standard body, 3GPP: the 3G-324M protocol, was developed jointly with ITU (the telecom industry governing body for standardization) and is implemented in virtually all video call capable cellular telecom devices.

Now here’s a video:

(you can also watch this video on Youtube)

I apologize for the directing instructions in Hebrew (the guy operating the calling phone had trouble locating the “Dial” button on the phone) and for the lousy focus of the camera when closing in on the phone (but you should be able to make out that the calling phone is showing me videoing Sagi – the guy that takes the call).

Thanks to Sagi and Alon for taking a time out of their busy schedule to help me rant about stuff like that.


I still can’t get over how stupid Americans are – here’s a direct quote from Apple’s presentation:

Steve Jobs: “This is amazing, I grew up here in America with Jetsons, Star Trek and communicators — just dreaming about video calling. And it’s real now.”

Yes, but it was real 8 years ago as well – a long time before even the first iPhone came out!

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5 Responses to “Did you hear that the iPhone 4 was released?”

  1. Arik:

    Don’t forget the fact that it only does these video calls if both sides are on wifi.

    — Arik

  2. Oded:

    I actually would like to be able to – optionally – make video calls over WiFi when available, as 3GPP’s 3G-324M only works over cellular networks.

    Supposedly WiFi access to standard video calling could be handled using a cellular hand-off protocol such as UMA or IEEE 802.21, but I’ve yet to see any of these in the wild.

    Still – Apple could have worked within the standard bodies to bring an implementation of the standard, which – even if not complete – would incentivize OEMs to release products and deliver standard conforming (and interoperating, which is the important issue here) devices. Instead they chose to use their monopoly in the US smart phone market to fragment the market.

  3. Eva Campbell:

    Video conferencing gave us a way to handle business meetings more efficiently,~-

  4. uscellular:

    I just found your post featured at Bing news about an hour ago under the cell phone section so I thought I’d let you know. I made an effort to give feedback on one of the other blog posts three times but didn’t get the form to accept it.

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