June 12, 2007

iPhone Shows the Way

We all know that the iPhone will have rich user interface and will combine phone and internet browsing capabilities in a single device. Still, as Om points out, we understand from yesterday’s keynote address at WWDC by Steve Jobs that iPhone is fundamentally going to change the wireless phone business.

I suggested as much almost three years back when I said in my open letter to Steve Jobs: “There is one other matter that is being ignored by many in the VoIP industry. In the final analysis, the user can invoke services and features only through a Man-machine interface and that will determine the usability of these services/features. Currently the popular arrangement is to provide a traditional phone with 12 buttons. This is so limiting even for the current list of features, let alone new and revolutionary features. The importance of MMI can be learnt from your yin-yang twin, Microsoft. You may remember that some six years back, they introduced a cordless phone that was tightly integrated to their telephony software. The phone never caught on and I theorize that had they solved the MMI issue it would have been successful, especially with those who access VoIP service through an ATA. So the development of a product that offers a rich user interface (Apple’s strength) will be a welcome contribution. This will be the “thumb wheel” to VoIP client.” (Yes, I was myopic to mention only VoIP clients and not include PSTN clients as well.)

Given a rich user interface like iPhone and the always on connectivity to the Internet to carry control signal information, one can offer presence service, ringtone, caller ringback tone, click-to-call and a plethora of other services. And as Om suggests one can do all these independent of the carriers by shifting the control to the customers of both the wireless and wireline not so intelligent PSTN. If we build a device like I suggested and being used in iPhone (not claiming causal effect here), I contend that we can deploy intelligent devices in PSTN (perish the thought that PSTN is an “intelligent network”) and satisfy Martin Geddes’ new found needs as well.

Posted by aswath at June 12, 2007 03:25 PM
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