On June 7th
, Apple announced the iPhone 4
. And the title of this blog is somewhat tongue in cheek, since the resultant hyperbole generated from this is seemingly iNdelible, iNcredible, iNdubitable and iNdefatigable. This iPhone must be iNvincible! This shows the power of Apple at this point in time. So I do use the word somewhat
above instead of leaving that word out entirely, since, well, if Apple does get millions and millions of people to use mobile video telephony, maybe that announcement will indeed be an inflection point in mobile video and bend the curve to be steeper.
But as readers of this blog know, I've long been talking about mobile video applications. And Apple did get something very right, which is a camera on both the front and back of the device. And they are using the H.264 video codec, which we've put in our products and I can tell you that the quality with that video codec is impressive.
With a camera on the back, which is what most mobile phones have today, you can take pictures or movies of what you see. But someone on the other end can't see you, so it's not a true video calling experience. As readers of this blog also know, there are many, many mobile video apps that don't need a camera on the front - a video IVR for instance works well on a mobile phone since you can see the menu on the phone, instead of listening to it. And we're even seeing commercials in the US now with regards to someone doing video banking while she is working out in a gym, using an IVVR on her mobile phone. So there are plenty of apps that are possible without a camera on the front.
But with a camera on the front, you can make a video call with another person from your mobile phone. So it opens up an entirely new realm of innovative mobile video applications. And this indeed is exciting!
Apple still has some work to do though. Right now, you can only do video calls from iPhone4 to another iPhone4, and you can only do this via WiFi. So this is limited. When you listen to Steve Jobs' keynote
, he does talk about open standards (indicating to me that Apple knows these devices need to talk to other video devices) and he does mention cellular carriers (which tells me Apple at least knows they need to get this device working beyond WiFi networks).
But, in the meantime, a new mobile video era has dawned...