My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Apple and FaceTime - BladeRunner and Beyonce and Lady Gaga's Video Phone

Friday, October 15, 2010

Apple and FaceTime - BladeRunner and Beyonce and Lady Gaga's Video Phone

If I should die to-night
My friends would look upon my quiet face
Before they laid it in its resting place
And deem that Death had left it almost fair

Arabella E. Smith, If I should Die To-Night

A rather macabre way to start, I do rather must say. Nonetheless, the Death of which I speak portends more to the lack of interest among the young for the now nascent phenomenon of Video Calling.

Video Calling is more relevant thanks to the smart phone with the front facing camera, a big deal in Japan on Telecom Provider NTT DoCoMo 3G Network back in 2003 AD.

But became more relevant in the Western Hemisphere with the Advent (Seventh Day Adventists, I am just borrowing the word!!!) of FaceTime Video Calling Platform on the Apple iPhone 4.0, which is running the new iOS 4.0 Platform which finally supports their unique take on:

  1. Multitasking
  2. Folders (finally)
  3. A new Apple advertising Platform called Apple iAd
  4. A game Social Network called Game Center, similar to that of Microsoft Xbox 360.
  5. iBook, similar to the iBookStore App on the Apple iPad with a free complimentary book Winnie the Pooh (first thing Apple has ever given away for free!!)

This as hinted in the article “Will iPhone 4.0 derail Microsoft's phone plans?”, published April 9, 2010 10:24 AM PDT by Ina Fried, CNET News - Beyond Binary and confirmed in the video “CNET The AppleByte” aired April 8 2010 by Brian Senior Editor, CNET News  rounds out the list.

Granted Video Calling may be relevant by 2015 AD to at least twenty nine million (29,000,000) people worldwide, according to statistical analysis by Juniper Research as stated in the article “Mobile Video Calling to hit 29 million users by 2015”, published October 12, 2010 9:10 AM PDT by Don Reisinger, CNET News - The Digital Home and supported by the article “Smart phone Video Calling adoption stymied: Juniper”, published Tuesday October 12, 4:28 pm ET, AFP, Yahoo News.

But its current slow rate of adoption may be due to FaceTime being exclusively an Apple iPhone experience. That may soon change, at least by 2011 AD. FaceTime, as is now known, was the other star of that Apple iPhone Refresh at WWDC (Worldwide Developer Conference) aside from the freshly minted and much hyped Apple iPad stated in the article “Apple's Endless Expanding App Universe”, published Monday April 26, 2010 By Peter Burrows, BusinessWeek - FEATURES

Surprisingly it racking up sales for its 3G version of nearly 500,000 two (2) year contract subscriptions as stated by Telecom Provider AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson in the article “Over 500,000 iPads on AT&T Network: CEO”, published Tuesday September 21, 6:34 pm ET by AFP, Yahoo News.

This aside from its Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) cousin which is now showing early signs of making the Netbook form factor obsolete as stated in the article “Apple iPads Targeting Netbooks, not Botebooks”, published Friday October 1, 9:14 am ET by Mark Hachman - PC Magazine, Yahoo News as per the analysis by NPD.

NPD’s analysis is based on current sales figures and corroborated by the very words of Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday September 14 2010 AD as stated in the article “Best Buy CEO: iPad Cannibalizing Laptop Sales by up to 50%”, published Friday September 17, 6:10 am ET by Chloe Albanesius - PC Magazine, Yahoo News and corroborated by the article “Best Buy: iPad cutting into laptop sales”, published September 17, 2010 9:35 AM PDT by Lance Whitney, CNET News - Apple.

Christmas is indeed looking bleak for the Laptop and PC makers, despite the Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn having to retract his statements after rattling the stock prices of his Laptop and Netbook partners as stated in the article “Best Buy: Oops! iPad isn't ruining Laptop Sales After all”, published Saturday September 18, 1:43 am ET by Jeff Bertolucci, Yahoo News and as stated in the article “Best Buy retreats from iPad cannibalization claim”, published Friday September 17 2010, CNET News.

All on Telecom Provider AT&T’s Network!

This is the same Telecom Provider AT&T that not only poured scorn on the idea that people would even be interested in having a second two (2) year contract for another mobile device on their 3G Network as stated in the article “AT&T CEO sandbags iPad 3G subscriptions”, published March 3, 2010 12:30 PM PST by Erica Ogg, CNET News - Circuit Breaker

Telecom Provider AT&T also took flak from the FCC (Federal Communication Commission), which voiced anticipated concerns as to the coming heavy Data traffic load as stated in the article “FCC: iPad use could further strain AT&T 3G”, published February 6, 2010 4:56 PM PST by Jim Dalrymple, CNET News – Apple

Thus making plans to improve their Network backhaul Infrastructure to utilize higher capacity Microwave Links, Fiber Optic cables or even the up and coming IEEE-based FLORA (Fiber-Less Optical Receiver Array) Technology for backhaul as opposed to noisy easily constricted T1 Cables as stated in the article “Wireless operators accelerate upgrade plans”, published January 26, 2010 4:00 AM PST by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News - Signal Strength in anticipation of the coming of 4G traffic associated with their expansion.

This is based on the recent news with regards to Telecoms Networks ramping up their deployments for WiMax 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) as stated in the article “Clearwire brings limited 4G to New York and Los Angeles”, published September 13, 2010 2:15 PM PDT by Kent German, CNET News - Dialed In and LTE (Long Term Evolution) as stated in the article “AT&T, Verizon execs talk LTE expansion”, published September 16, 2010 11:05 PM PDT by Kent German, CNET News - Dialed In.

This is in keeping with Network equipment provider Cisco’s predictions of a wireless explosion that would culminate in a Data Traffic rate of 3.6 exabytes per month by 2014 AD (that is the year before Peak Oil!)

Or, put another way, a yearly increase of 40 exabytes, representing a thirty nine (39) times increase on Data rates in 2009, effectively a yearly compound increase of 108% per annum as stated in the article “Cisco predicts wireless-Data explosion”, published February 9, 2010 5:00 AM PST by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News - Signal Strength. Video Calling is expected to jam these Networks with traffic. Lots of it.

Currently FaceTime traffic is being shunted [diverted] over Telecom Provider AT&T Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Network, a protocol that just got ratification last year as stated in the article “802.11n Wi-Fi standard finally approved”, published September 11, 2009 5:33 PM PDT by Dong Ngo, CNET News – Wireless.

It is now soon to get a boost in terms of coverage thanks to FCC (Federal Communications Commission) Chairman Julius Genachowski gift of spectrum license free “White” Space Frequencies as stated in the article “FCC to open up vacant TV airwaves for broadband”, published Monday September 13, 12:35 am ET By JOELLE TESSLER, AP Technology Writer, Yahoo News and now officially confirmed in the article “FCC officially frees TV white space spectrum”, published Thursday September 23 2010, CNET News

This a boon to small Telecom Providers looking to get into the Wireless Broadband game, Big Telecom Providers with their “free” Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Network offering to customers such as Telecom Provider AT&T, which offered the service as a means of offloading traffic off their 3G Network  as stated in the article “AT&T offers free Wi-Fi in New York City”, published May 25, 2010 7:04 AM PDT by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News - Signal Strength.

Telecom Provider AT&T is now in the process of expanding their service as stated in the article “AT&T expands free Wi-Fi hot zone trial”, July 26, 2010 12:14 PM PDT by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News - Signal Strength.

Granted, FaceTime is a Platform unique to the Apple iPhone 40 as well as the Apple iPod Touch, though I must admit I was a tad disappointed that the “videophone” concept as per the Beyonce and Lady Gaga song Video Phone did not catch on with the Apple iTV as opined by ZDTV pundit David Gewirtz in the article “FaceTime could be Apple's iTV killer app”, published August 23, 2010, 7:35am PDT, By David Gewirtz, ZDNet Government. 

Still, Video Calling on FaceTime is unique, as Apple Inc. are so far, the first and ONLY smart phone handset maker to integrate software tailor made for Video Calling on their device, albeit the restriction of being able to make calls over Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) and only to other Apple iPhones is a bit of a bother.

Yahoo! Messenger, Skype, Google Voice or Fring all have Video Calling apps for the Apple iPhone and other smart phones that support Video Calling such as:

  1. The Samsung Epic 4G on Telecom Provider Verizon Wireless Broadband Network
  2. The HTC Droid Incredible 4G on Telecom Provider Verizon 4G Wireless Wireless Broadband Network, as stated in the video CNET Buzz Report, aired Thursday May 6th 2010, by Molly Wood, Executive Editor, CNET News
  3. The HTC EVO 4G on Telecom Provider Sprint Wireless Broadband Network.

The Apple iPhone, being that it is on Telecom Provider AT&T Network, is restricted to making calls over with their “free” Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Network, with only “jail broken” phones as the Americans call them, that can make calls over the 3G Network.

This is significantly clogging their Network with traffic, at least on a non - “jail broken” phone, jail breaking now being legal as stated in the article “Apple: Jailbreaking an iPhone will (still) violate your warranty”, published Tuesday 27 July 2010 by Ben Patterson, Technology Writer, Yahoo News and further elucidate in the article “On Call: Go ahead an jailbreak, its legal now”, published July 27, 2010 2:20 PM PDT by Kent German, - Dialed In.

Thus, Apple Inc is set a rather interesting challenge. As 4G Networks and “Super” Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Networks become more pervasive, smart phone handset makers and even consumer electronics gadget makes will begin to integrate Video Calling features into their consumer electronics devices.

Thus, these devices, from the lowly kitchen appliance to the smart phone, will be capable of making video calls via these various Wireless Broadband Networks.

Apple now has to repackage their FaceTime Application and enable it to work on other smart phone devices or at least encourage interoperability between their Video Calling enabled device and other so similarly enabled, possibly as a free app with a subscription fee

This is similar to Google Voice, but with handset makers paying a license fee to interconnect to Apple Video Calling Platform, akin to the licensing of genetic engineering templates in the movie Blade Runner (1982).

This would not only spur the adoption of Video Calling in general, as Cross-Network Video Calling does not need to be switched, as is the case with Voice Calling, merely traverse over the Data Network via interconnection between the Telecom Providers MGW (Media Gateways).

Thus, licensing the FaceTime Platform and its integration into all of their product line, as is currently the case with the new Apple Mac Books to other smart phone manufacturers is a means by which Apple can increase its revenue base and encourage increased Video Calling by making cross Network calling less technically adept experience that Yahoo! Messenger, Skype, Google Voice or Fring can offer

No one wants to void their warranty on a two (2) year contract smart phone al la “jail breaking” just to make video calls using these competing Platforms.

Additionally, Apple and its close relationship with Telecom Provider AT&T, can also introduce Metered Video Calling, thus allaying fears that Telecom Providers will be losing the revenue from valuable International Voice minutes as this phenomenon of Video Calling picks up steam.

Ditto too for Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.1n) Calling as Bonnie Cha calls it or Mesh Network Calling as I like to call it as stated in the article “Wi-Fi calling coming to T-Mobile Android Phones”, published October 6, 2010 6:02 AM PDT by Bonnie Cha, CNET News - CTIA 2010.

Also Satellite Calling on smart phones enabled to so, such as Telecom Provider AT&T’s TerreStar Genus as stated in the article “AT&T launches satellite phone”, published September 21, 2010 9:32 AM PDT by Lance Whitney, CNET News – Wireless.

Good news for Jamaicans, as with the Apple iPhone 4.0 on Telecom Provider CLARO 3G Network, Jamaicans potentially, albeit a rather exclusive set, will be “FaceTime”-ing with each other more extensively than before, as the craze in the United States of America, an after-effect of the Summer of 2010, picks up steam.

Mesh Network Calling will also catch on, especially with users of Wayne Chen and Lee’s co-owned Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Network Dekal Wireless as stated in the article “Wayne Chen, Lees enter Wireless Broadband Market”, published Friday July 30th 2010 by Mark Titus, Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner

Same too for upstart Nubian-1 Tech Services Ltd as stated in the article “Another small player emerges in the wireless broadband market”, published Friday August 2 2010 by Mark Titus, Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Satellite Calling is more likely to catch on with Jamaican by 2012 AD, as too many options for International Calling exist for this to be so readily adopted. Until then, when in the future FaceTime is licensed as is genetic information in the movie Blade Runner (1982), enjoy being part of the FaceTime statistic on you Video Phone, courtesy of Beyonce and Lady Gaga.

But what of FLORA (Fiber-Less Optical Receiver Array)? Excuse me, my porridge is getting cold. Another article, another time.

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