Apple quietly makes iPhone, iPad into web phones
Apple has updated the iPhone software development kit to allow internet telephony apps to work on the 3G network. The little-noticed move effectively unlocks the ability for the iPhone — and the upcoming iPad — to be used as web phones.
ICall, a voice-over-Internet Protocol (VOIP) calling company, said the latest revisions in Apple’s iPhone developer agreement and software development kit enable the iPhone to make phone calls over 3G data networks. ICall promptly released an update to its app today, adding the 3G support.
Because the iPad includes a microphone and will run iPhone apps, that means the tablet will gain internet telephony, too.
The FCC on Thursday issued a statement applauding Apple’s policy change…
Previously, Apple and AT&T had a secret agreement to ban apps that would let iPhone users make phone calls using the 3G data connection to prevent cutting into AT&T’s profits. That agreement was revealed in summer of 2009 when the FCC asked Apple and AT&T to explain why Google’s Voice app was rejected from the iPhone store.
After the FCC announced it was planning to extend internet openness rules to mobile networks, AT&T in October 2009 announced it would extend VOIP to 3G networks for the iPhone.
It appears that AT&T’s policy change is only now coming into effect, beginning with iCall and a few other VOIP apps that can now work with 3G…
Members of the Whining religion have greeted this change by complaining that the micro-SIM used in the iPad isn’t offered by their pet telecoms.
Like most technical hardware advances over Apple’s history, from the 3½” floppy to the mini displayport, the tech is available and just needed a kickstart from someone like Apple to put it into play.
As sales of the iPad ramp up, there will be other phones, other services, saving another few grams and cc’s – switching over to the mini-SIM. Of course.