So the cat is out of the bag. That is the Cat 2.0, out of the bag of Steve Jobs. Last Monday in San Francisco Apple’s CEO showed off the new version of the iPhone. While it offers a host of new games and web services, the new devices does NOT have a front facing video camera, nor does it support video conferencing (unless you take the “video conferencing kit” seriously…). And that’s despite the many rumors and protocol debates.
Steve Jobs unveiling the iPhone 2.0 in WWDC 2008. (CC)
The reasons for not supporting video conferencing are probably the usual (suspects):
- Hardware: 2-megapixel sensor with no video capability, weak CPU. These, of course, can be fixed but then Apple has to support numerous hardware variations.
- Battery life: Judging from the way my Nokia 6120 is drained after I use the camera for video it makes sense.
- Pricing: If they are replacing the CPU and sensor, the phone will be more expensive.
The iPhone is no doubt the coolest gadget out there, but it is certainly not the only mobile handset in stores, nor is it the most popular. Still, as the video conferencing market is looking for that killer application, that one niche that would make this market boom, a video-enabled iPhone could’ve been something to look forward to.
A video call on a mobile handset. (CC)
A video -enabled iPhone was/is something to look forward to, especially if you analyze the case of mobile web browsing. Just when surveys were busy discussing why mobile internet has not picked up, out came the iPhone. According to M:Metrics, a measurement firm that studies mobile media, everyone turned into mobile web junkies. Now think what it could do for video conferencing. Especially when other mobile vendors are spreading out blasphemy saying “customers aren’t interested in video calls.”Above all you are familiar with iChat, and how simple and useful it is for video conferencing.
The only light I see in that long tunnel in Steve Jobs’s presentation, is that Steve Jobs and Apple are soon to be replaced by a big developers community using the iPhone SDK. And with all due respect to people in Nokia, Samsung or Apple, the handset wars we see today are really not that interesting. In the long run it will be the users and developers who will determine who will win the mobile handset war. And as handset vendors (should) think of the users first , I am sure they will move their phones in the right direction, that is, the moving picture direction.