Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Apple Planning Video-Call iPhone

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the was-blind-but-now-iSee dept.

Cellphones 268

An anonymous reader writes "The recently awarded iPhone patent contains hidden claims which indicate Apple is planning to bring video calling and recording features to the iPhone, according to InfoWeek blogger Alex Wolfe. Buried within the 'embodiments' section of patent number 7,479,949 is this: 'In some embodiments, the functions may include telephoning, video conferencing, e-mailing, instant messaging, blogging, digital photographing, digital videoing, web browsing, digital music playing, and/or digital video playing.' Wolfe also cites language indicating Apple is aware that having a rear-facing camera is an impediment towards video calls (and also taking pictures of yourself.): 'In some embodiments, an optical sensor is located on the front of the device so that the user's image may be obtained for videoconferencing while the user views the other video conference participants on the touch screen display.' Screen caps of the patent drawing are also available."

cancel ×

268 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Transparenty iphone? (1, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695497)

An iphone with a camera opposite the screen could display an image of what's on the other side of the phone, making it seem transparent. Useless, but it would be a cool effect.

Re:Transparenty iphone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26695719)

Not useless if it had a zoom feature and a macro lens. One could then use the phone as an electronic magnifying glass for when the spectacles have been left in the other jacket's pocket, but someone has plonked a patent application in your hand in exceptionally small print.

By the way.. is any of what has been mentioned actually innovative? It all seems terribly familiar to me...

Re:Transparenty iphone? (4, Funny)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695985)

By the way.. is any of what has been mentioned actually innovative? It all seems terribly familiar to me...

When has that ever stopped the USPTO from handing out a patent? /sarcasm

Re:Transparenty iphone? (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696193)

That doesn't seem anything like sarcasm to me. Perhaps snark.

Re:Transparenty iphone? (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696297)

Fair enough. I'm feeling pretty snarky this morning.

Re:Transparenty iphone? (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695961)

Or you could add a mini-projector and the use the phone to make an entire area "invisible".

Or add a tiny sonar, map the rooms and then send the information to a central server which would then compose a 3d view of the entire city!

Any volunteers to put the bat costume and jump off the building?

Re:Transparenty iphone? (2, Funny)

gladish (982899) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696271)

Why not a time machine too?

Re:Transparenty iphone? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26696977)

Or you could just move the phone out of the way.

Re:Transparenty iphone? (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695989)

It doesn't work quite that easily, since the field of view for the camera would be different than for your eyes, meaning the image on the screen might depict the same stuff that you would see if your phone were transparent, but the image wouldn't line up well enough to give a transparent effect-- at least not without employing some kind of special tricks.

Why not sooner? (3, Insightful)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695509)

Someone should write a video-sharing app for the current iPhone and also sell an iPhone Periscope attachment that lets the current camera look at the user.

After all, this really is one of those times where the iPhone devs must be hitting their heads and saying "Why didn't we think of that sooner?" It seems so obvious in retrospect. Other than the forward-facing camera, there is _nothing_ keeping the current generation of iPhones from having this capability. They've got the power, the robustness, the hardware, and the infrastructure.

Did the devs just have a brainfart when designing the iPhone or was it their intention all along to release such a great new feature that you couldn't upgrade to without upgrading the whole phone, thereby having to buy a new one?

Re:Why not sooner? (5, Funny)

Vorpix (60341) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695585)

or was it their intention all along to release such a great new feature that you couldn't upgrade to without upgrading the whole phone, thereby having to buy a new one?

no apple would NEVER do something like that.. ;-)

Re:Why not sooner? (1, Flamebait)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695597)

It's typical Apple maner to have a good idea, implement it fast and then leave the product and not develop it further.

Which I find so weird, it's understandable with single developers or free projects because then you may enjoy the challenge in getting something to work or just implementing the idea but then get tired of improving the design and make it a good product.

But in Apples case? iChat, iTunes, iPhoto, Pages, Mail, all good starts but then what? Neither is the application to rule them all.

Re:Why not sooner? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695627)

Guess I forgot "patent it as much as possible and be a bitch when someone else takes the idea and improves their product to something useful."

May I add Airtunes to the things above to? Wireless audio from iTunes? Why not from all applications? Youtube? VLC? Games? No, iTunes 'ought to be enough for everyone!

Re:Why not sooner? (1)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695653)

Airtunes is a technical limitation I think - you can get get applications that will stream audio from any application (or even the audio output itself) to an Airtunes station, but the lag on it makes it unsuitable for anything other then standalone audio.

Re:Why not sooner? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695803)

Ah, I see. Yeah I know Airfoil exist but I didn't knew about this issue, that suck :(

I have a Macbook Pro and when I finally found mini-toslink to toslink adapters it took 3 days before it broke because I moved the computer and the cable got somewhat stuck.

Got a new one but two days later I stepped on the cable and it got broken again >

Fucking retarded to use mini-toslink but it's expected from Apple, I'll never buy any Apple hardware again. Why couldn't they just use an additional connector and real toslink instead, atleast it doesn't break all the fucking time. (or the mini-toslinks could use metal instead of plastic but they wouldn't be much more sturdy then either.)

I've been thinking about getting the airport express + airfoil but have hated that I would also have to get the airport extreme to get wireless disc. Can't understand why they don't have both functions in the same product!?!
I have also been thinking about building an access point of my own from an MSI wind barebone but I guess this renders airfoil/airtunes unusable then.

Retards :/

Nice seeing osx86 improving all the time atleast, instead of stop working at Leopard it started working even better :)

Re:Why not sooner? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26696405)

there are metal mini-toslinks, and the Apple ports do support them... at least, my Mac Mini does.

However, the Creative Audigy 2 I was trying to connect my Mini to was under the impression that if it was metal-tipped, it was an analog connector, which is a shame, because the plastic-tipped mini-toslink connector I had snapped off inside and took me a steady hand with a tiny drill bit to get it back out.

But yeah, the metal mini-toslinks are quite sturdy, actually. I'd much rather Apple use the mini-toslinks than sacrifice a USB or Firewire port just so they can include a toslink socket that only 2% of its userbase would use.

Re:Why not sooner? (3, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696105)

It's typical Apple maner to have a good idea, implement it fast and then leave the product and not develop it further.

That doesn't seem right to me at all. In fact, it seems so wrong that I'm trying to figure out whether you're trolling, being sarcastic, or just don't know what you're talking about.

They were working on the iPhone for something like 7 years before release. It's not a hastily put-together product, and they've continued to refine it and add features ever since it was released. Are you sure that you're not just annoyed that they haven't yet chosen to implement features that you want?

Re:Why not sooner? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26696503)

While the quote from Mr. Jobs when he announced it was "Over two years". I doubt he meant 7.
So .. even with the 6 months from announcement to release ... Lets be and say thats up to 3 years before release.

Where do you get this 7 number from ?

Re:Why not sooner? (1)

beetle496 (677137) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696577)

Definite troll. He is just jealous, or can't afford the iPhone.

Re:Why not sooner? (2, Insightful)

vitaflo (20507) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696487)

"But in Apples case? iChat, iTunes, iPhoto, Pages, Mail, all good starts but then what? Neither is the application to rule them all."

This is a bad thing? We talk so much about apps that have tons of bloat in them and how bad it is. Many companies add features to apps just to add features, not because it makes them any better. Many of Apple's apps simply do their job, why do they need to do everything under the sun?

SDK precludes it (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695763)

After all, this really is one of those times where the iPhone devs must be hitting their heads and saying "Why didn't we think of that sooner?"

Not really. You don't think 100000000 developers have already thought of this idea (here I am counting every single current iPhone developer and a whole bunch of outside developers)?

You can't do it now, because the SDK for the camera only takes stills, not video - even the grey areas you can use to capture video are pretty grey, and Apple probably would not accept the techniques used for entries in the store.

I'm sure we'll see that ability in the SDK eventually and as soon as we do, you'll see as many video conferencing apps as TODO lists. It's not from any lack of developer forethought or desire, I assure you.

Re:SDK precludes it (2, Informative)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696209)

You can do it now. You just have to go around the SDK.

http://qik.com/blog/206/qik-announces-iphone-3g-support [qik.com]

Heck you can do it on the original iPhones as well.

Works fine.

Re:SDK precludes it (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696723)

You can do it now. You just have to go around the SDK.

Parent:

and Apple probably would not accept the techniques used for entries in the store.

Proves my point (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696725)

You can do it now. You just have to go around the SDK.

Yes, that's what I said. The SDK precludes it. The solutions that work around the SDK are too grey for the app store (thus the need for Cydia).

Re:Why not sooner? (1)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696617)

Did the devs just have a brainfart when designing the iPhone or was it their intention all along to release such a great new feature that you couldn't upgrade to without upgrading the whole phone, thereby having to buy a new one?

Heh, I remember in the late '90s when car makers came out with the 'three door pickup'. It was the next evolution of pickups! I remember thinking, what will they think of next, the FOUR DOOR PICKUP?

Sounds like any 3G phone? (5, Insightful)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695533)

Why is this news?

A 3G phone which can do video calls!? Omg!! ...

A phone which can use its camera for storing videos and which can play music? No shit!

I had assumed the iPhone could already do video-calls, kinda shitty the 3G one can't (if that's really so.)

Duh (4, Informative)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695645)

The iPhone's screen points one way.
The iPhone's camera points in the opposite direction.

Kinda hard to have a video conference when you have to be on both sides of the device at once for it to work.

Re:Duh (3, Insightful)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695747)

Kinda retarded to do a 3G phone with only one camera.

More or less the only reason to get 3G at all is to be able to do video calls. I had assumed Apple would had manage to do this right from the beginning, but I guess they would sell less phones then .. Or that it would mess up the design of the front.

Re:Duh (1)

Ender_Wiggin (180793) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695797)

Yeah, I want a 3G phone with as many cameras as a spider has eyes.

Re:Duh (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696023)

...

The market thing, atleast over here in Europe, of 3G has always been being able to do video-calls, which most people haven't cared much about but anyway.

I guess the other benefit is higher data-rates which may be what Apple was after but I don't think many people use their phones for data and the much worse coverage of 3G vs GSM + bigger phones + worse battery life makes people see 3G as a disadvantage instead.

The only people I know preferring 3G is deaf people since it's the only device which let them contact each other (except webcam then, but they don't have that with them all the time ..)

Re:Duh (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696719)

"...and the much worse coverage of 3G vs GSM"

Ok...I'm confused again. I thought GSM == sim card phones == 3G

What have I gotten mixed up here please?

I've always had a Sprint phone, no SIM card...CDMA?

Re:Duh (1)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696911)

3G (in context of GSM) == UMTS, the successor to GSM. In nearly all cases*, a UMTS phone also contains GSM, as most UMTS network providers have yet to match the full coverage of their GSM networks.
3G (in context of CDMA) == EV-DO, an upgrade to the CDMA2000 standard (much like GPRS-EDGE for GSM, but from 2.5G to 3G)

*The edge cases being mostly Asian countries like Japan (PDC) and South Korea (CDMA)

Re:Duh (3, Insightful)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695977)

What's the reasoning there? My calls are flaky enough voice-only, and it's not like adding video adds to the experience. 3G has a lot of benefits, but video-calls from a cell phone seems like features just for the sake of features (which, generally, is avoided by Apple).

The last thing I want is a requirement to wear pants while working in my home office, thank you very much.

Re:Duh (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696117)

Just because you CAN do video calls you don't have to. And yes, I already know much people don't request this feature or care (except deaf people), but it's still more or less the definition of a 3G phone for me.

Re:Duh (5, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695819)

That's why Apple is introducing its newest iPhone add-on, the iMirror! For the low price of only $99, you can clip this shiny (ooooh, shiny!) rectangle to your iPhone, which then, through the magic of very high frequency electromagnetic waves, WIRELESSLY transmits your image to the camera on the backside of the iPhone. Now you can see your friends and be seen AT THE SAME TIME. Hurry! Supplies are limited!

Re:Duh (5, Funny)

Moebius Loop (135536) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696177)

I prefer the iReflect, which uses a particle-based medium. The resulting picture is quite a bit more danceable.

Re:Duh (4, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696287)

Feel free to make and market your own third-party knock-off. But be prepared for Apple to start their smear campaign telling everyone why their wave-based version is better than your particle-based one.

Re:Duh (1)

master811 (874700) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696273)

You have a point, accept one rather big problem...

...Other 3G phones have had forward facing cameras for YEARS!

This is not new, I really fail to see how this is anything innovative. (e.g. my Sony Ericsson W850i is 2 and a half years old now and has always been able to do this).

Re:Duh (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696387)

If everyone starts to do "Video calls" and talk about how amazing iPhone technology is that they can make video calls, don't be surprised.

I am not joking BTW.

Re:Duh (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696353)

They could do what Nokia, Sony Ericsson and all other 3G handset makers did. Put a basic camera (640x480) on front of iPhone. But no, they should sell upgrades right? It is one of the smallest cameras you can see and yet it works perfectly for everyone.

Re:Sounds like any 3G phone? (3, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695805)

It's news because Apple are thinking about it.

For some reason. Like when the iPhone came out and everyone was all "ooo! a smartphone! we've never seen one before!". Now I don't know if this was due to the US market being so far behind the rest of the world or just Apple Fanboi'ism, but it was quite surprising.

Yes, Apple make great hardware designs. Yes, Apple do fantastic software interfaces. But the device capabilities have never held up to the competition.

Hell, I had a dual-cam phone a few years back that could do 3G and video calling...

Re:Sounds like any 3G phone? (1)

InterBigs (780612) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695967)

The fact that the iPhone 3G doesn't do video-calls really surprised me, too. I mean, the Nokia 6680 I purchased in 2005 already supported it. Of course I had to wait until 2008 before I could even video-call anyone, so I guess Apple is not really that late :)

Re:Sounds like any 3G phone? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696095)

Maybe it's just that USA have got 3G so late? When did they start getting it? Because yes, Nokia and Sony-Ericsson have done dual-cam 3G phones for years. I can't imagine how you can do a 3G phone with just one cam. It's like "oh, look, we replaced the antenna!"

Re:Sounds like any 3G phone? (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696307)

I can't imagine why people would actually care enough about making video calls to say that feature is necessary to take advantage of a a faster network connection. In other words, 3G is necessary for the video calls, but video calls aren't necessary for 3G. Not by a long shot.

I find your complaint to the contrary to be somewhat ridiculous.

Re: Why this IS news... (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696519)

Why is this news?

A 3G phone which can do video calls!? Omg!! ...

Ah, to clarify, this isn't just any 3G phone that can do video calls. This is an iPhone. You know, from THE company? Led, by their beloved iSteve(TM)? The iOne? Also known as iYoda.

There's marketing, and then there's iMarketing. Let's hope for their sake their beloved iLeader is around for a while longer. Not sure how much longer they can keep up the 80%-fashion/20%-function blend across an entire product line, especially in this economy.

Occam's Razor (1)

Lord Grey (463613) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695539)

'In some embodiments, the functions may include telephoning, video conferencing, e-mailing, instant messaging, blogging, digital photographing, digital videoing, web browsing, digital music playing, and/or digital video playing.'

Or, this is just Apple's attempt at filing a patent that is as broad as possible.

Billygoats (2, Insightful)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695873)

Or, this is just Apple's attempt at filing a patent that is as broad as possible.

...because if they don't, some joker will probably come along and patent the specific idea of using a "multi touch" interface for video conferencing, and in N years time when Apple are just about to launch the new video iPhone, up will pop the troll...

Remember, a lot of these patents are just there for mutual assured destruction - if they're ever rolled out, only the cockroaches will survive (unless some bastard has patented their genome).

Great (5, Funny)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695545)

Someone can watch a video of my inner ear while listening to me

Re:Great (1)

Astadar (591470) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696203)

Think of the ear-infection diagnostic opportunities!

Argh... if only it had a flash.

So where's the invention? (1)

enough2000 (523518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695549)

Wow, video in video - now that's something really new. Patents are bad, imagine a world in which story writers or scientists could claim patents for their ideas - there would be no imagination, no progress.Apart from this general rant, I see absolutely nothing new in here.

Safety (3, Insightful)

sstpm (1463079) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695555)

I'm a fairly libertarian guy, but wouldn't a whole mob of new video-callers be somewhat dangerous on the road? If you thought texting while driving was bad, just imagine ubiquitous video calling. There would almost have to be legislation against video calls while driving.

Re:Safety (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695669)

Well then I can see that your diving and hang up with a line of, "When you're in a more responsible position we can do business."

If they are reckless enough to video chat and drive. I really don't need to be talking to them for a business deal.

Re:Safety (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696073)

Most businesspeople in that position are smart enough to make that call on their own. I am much more concerned about soccer moms trying to stalk their children from behind the wheel of their minivans.

Re:Safety (1)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695681)

Why do you need legislation against video calls? Surely that comes under "due care and attention".

Re:Safety (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696057)

It's for the the same reason that we need laws against texting while driving--because idiots don't think about the fact that they're being reckless and think that if there's not a specific law against it, that they can do it.
 

Re:Safety (1)

minor_deity (1176695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696985)

Those same idiots tend not to know the law anyways. Creating new laws to make already illegal things illegal is only going to make things worse for those people who do try and know the law.

Re:Safety (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695941)

Huh, I don't get it? It's not American Idol! You don't have to look at the screen just because it's there. Next you'll want to call it face-free calling while you are on the road. No need for more legislation, even if you are not on the phone, you can be ticketed for reckless or dangerous driving, lack of due care and attention, and probably a couple of other things. Seems to cover talking on the phone, putting on make-up, eating, arguing with the spouse, smacking your kids (I won't smack mine, but yours I would), and any number of things that would distract your attention from the road etc. Police forces across the country do not need a law against talking on the phone while driving, they simply announce that it will be treated as dangerous driving, and then start writing tickets.

I'm sure that video phones will give us at least one runner up for the Darwin Awards; most likely someone walking in front of a bus etc. rather than driving.

Worse than all that, IMO, is the fact that people use phones in places that are absolutely sickening: public toilets, grocery store check out line, while pumping gas, just about everywhere... I don't think I want a video phone, thank you very much.

Re:Safety (1)

tritonman (998572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696181)

You have a point, but just THINK of all the new high-res video of car accidents we will get to see on FOX! They could have a new weekly series of iPhone car crash videos.

What do these people do all day long? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26695565)

That they're reduced to reading through apple patent applications for predictions about "apple's new i-app"?

I find people digging through some hollywood star's trash less creepy.

Re:What do these people do all day long? (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695679)

Less creepy? No. But still, you have to wonder why people get press about this. Apple patents a *lot* of things that never get implemented. Remember the big ol' patent hubbub over the bunch of UI elements they patented (touch-sensitive edges) from a couple years back? Those have yet to materialize.

Just because they patented it doesn't mean it's coming. Companies patent things all the time that they never end up releasing.

Awesome! (5, Funny)

jargoone (166102) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695581)

This is great! Now, can we please have MMS and copy/paste like smartphones from 8 years ago?

Why would you want something so old? (2, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695791)

Now, can we please have MMS..like smartphones from 8 years ago?

Should we bring back everything popular from eight years ago? How about floppy discs?

Some things should be left in the past. Emailing pictures to people is more sensible than MMS.

Copy & paste is a different matter, but even there you are not forward thinking...

Re:Why would you want something so old? (0, Offtopic)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696147)

Copy & paste is a different matter, but even there you are not forward thinking...

In a move to attract the teenage girl market, I think they should call it "binge and purge".

Re:Why would you want something so old? (0)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696535)

Actually SMS and MMS are increasing and Email is decreasing. It's apple who are in the past.

It's *months* since I've received an email off my friends. I get several SMS and MMS a day.

Spam has killed email... plus you need a PC to read it, and lots of people don't have PCs (this being slashdot you may not believe that but it's true). *everyone* has a phone.. and *everyone* except iphone users has a phone that can do MMS.

Re:Why would you want something so old? (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696799)

I read email on an iPhone all the time, and on various Blackberrys before that, so a PC is not necessary for reading email.

I don't send MMS messages ever but I am annoyed by the fact that the iPhone doesn't handle them. The idiotic workaround from ATT works maybe 50% of the time and more or less requires me to find a PC, what needing to enter two different code numbers into their web site and their pages timing out when loaded from my phone. As long as there is alcohol being served in the same place as a camera phone, I'm going to want MMS.

Re:Awesome! (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696779)

Nah you'll get iMessages in the form of compressed Keynote-presentations instead.

Code already in OS X? (3, Interesting)

Ohio Calvinist (895750) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695593)

It would seem like a majority of this work is already done as between iChat and Quicktime; most if not all of this functionality in OS X since at least 10.3 (maybe earlier). It would seem all they have to do as the poster said, would be to be able to capture the image on the front of the device or have some sort of add-on and code a front-end for the smaller screen.

I am not surprised Apple didn't release this on 1.x models under Edge and the weaker battery, but even on 3G at a low-scale, it would seem like it would be "good enough" for most applications. I wonder if their problem lies with the agreement with AT&T since they are working to prevent VoIP on the platform. It would be interesting if the carrier could detect packets on a protocol, or maintain the servers that connect the video-calls and charge wireless minutes for this kind of traffic. However, I think carriers ought to move away from the call-minutes model in favor of a flat-fee, as in most calling situations I am in (M2M or Nights/Weekends) that is effectively what they are doing. Though I am sure their two biggest cash cows are overages and SMS, which has been discussed before.

Re:Code already in OS X? (4, Insightful)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695703)

"Good enough" is not really in Apple's vocabulary, though. I've seen many MP3 phones before the iPhone, and all of them were "good enough". You could drag files onto the memory cards, the music playing app would pick them up. You could play, pause, next, shuffle... all the basic features.

But I hated all of them. They were "good enough", but not "good". When I got my hands on the iPhone I felt that it was finally media integration into a phone, done right.

I don't think Apple is going to release video-calling until they have a compelling way to work around the limitations of existing implementations.

Re:Code already in OS X? (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696159)

I wonder if their problem lies with the agreement with AT&T since they are working to prevent VoIP on the platform.

Or maybe it's par for the course with Apple, who frequently introduces new versions and slight upgrades of their products because they know their biggest fans will continue to buy whatever they churn out regardless of whether or not it's a really significant upgrade. Why put all your features into one version when you can add them in over a period of time in new devices you can sell?

Makes some sense (2, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695649)

The "video phones of the future" always assumed use while one was outside of the home or at a place of business. The concept broke down when it was realized that people don't want video feeds in their homes. (The "I just got out of the shower" example is often bandied about.) With a cell phone, the concept starts to make sense again. Like with the characters in TekWar, you're usually in an acceptable location and/or state of dress to take video calls on a cell phone.

Of course, it will be interesting to see how many calls are answered in privacy mode. Will people even trust such a feature?

Re:Makes some sense (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696473)

I don't know about USA but I haven't seen a SINGLE video calling person in my life in Europe and even in Japan which is the base of 3G technology.

I had my 3G phone with me while travelling to Japan and while my phone even pushed me to do video calls (via menus etc.) , I didn't really care.

Video calling exists since 33,6K era analogue modems (forgot the standard name) and ISDN, nobody really cares. If Apple can make people use Video calls, my respect to them will really get higher in non technical matter. I mean if they manage to make people staring to their phone screens at the street look "cool".

Re:Makes some sense (1)

master811 (874700) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696731)

The main issue of video calling is that it's still a novelty, its like having your phone on handsfree whenever you use it.
 
You have to have it loud enough to hear the person on the other end (as the mic is gonna be further from both the caller and the receiver's mouth and ears) and it means everyone else around you will also be able to hear whatever the other person says too.
 
It's not very discreet and impossible to make it so, which is probably why it has never really caught on that much.

Re:Makes some sense (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696897)

Also you can't walk and talk same time. Well, theoretically you can but accidents may happen :)

I am trying to say that while telecoms re-dream about it every year, video phone is a bit meaningless thing, it even has cultural reasons too. Just like speech recognition has reached to a point that you can easily dictate your computer but you don't see too many people talking to their computer.

It's here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26695661)

Welcome to the World of Tomorrow!

My phone has that today... (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695713)

Why do I want the late-comer to the market when my phone does this perfectly today? You know the first version of it is going to be buggy as hell and probably not even work right. Look at the first iPhone that wasn't even 3G... and the "innovative" 3G version doesn't even work half the time and sucks battery like a cheap hooker.

*sigh*

Apple is hopelessly behind the mainstream of product development.

Re:My phone has that today... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26695959)

*snore*

Sorry - I've been a 'smartphone' users since the beginning. I know what a royal pain in the ass they can, and have been.

The hard, cold fact that you are avoiding is: the majority of 'smart' features have been available for a VERY long time (with obvious exceptions such as visual voicemail, etc).

Apples' trick has been to get the majority of users to actually USE those features.

No company before them succeeded at that.

I've enjoyed tinkering with smartphones ... but for the average joe: what use is a ferrari with a fort-knox like ignition key?

No amount of poo pooing the iphone and "I already have that" comments will avoid this fact.

Apple have single handedly revolutionised the smartphone arena by making Nokia and WinMo compete.

I speak not as an iPhone user, I have a WinMo, but I have used all of these phones for a long time.

If you were being either honest or experienced, you would agree.

Nintendo did it (4, Informative)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695813)

See the new Nintendo DSi for a good example:
- hi-res camera in the rear for taking pictures
- low-res camera in the front for video conferencing (given the resolution of the Nintendo DSi, even a 0.3 megapixel camera is completely overkill)

Re:Nintendo did it (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696151)

The "hi-res camera" thing is a much-repeated misunderstanding. Both cameras are VGA CCDs apparently.

Re:Nintendo did it (3, Informative)

master811 (874700) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696327)

In addition to nearly every other 3G phone on the market which are nearly all able to do video conferencing.

doilL (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26695823)

on an #e8deavour [goat.cx]

Unimpressed (1)

denton420 (1235028) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695895)

Sounds great! This should bring the iPhone battery life to a healthy 3 minutes, down from the current generations 3 hour battery life.

In all seriousness, why is this news? I would hope every communications company is planning for the future. The future of phone calls is video calls.

Lets sift through every companies patents and predict all of the wild ideas they are planning in the next 20 years...

Re:Unimpressed (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696031)

Personally, I wanna know how they're going to handle the bandwidth needed for video conferencing on a cell fone.

Re:Unimpressed (2, Insightful)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696615)

Same way that every other 3G phone on the market does.

It's really not a lot of bandwidth, and video calling predates 3G data by some years.. I remember only 5 years ago trying to arrange data for a 3G phone and being told by the operator that they had no plans to implement it (they did so 2 years later).

Re:Unimpressed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26696421)

This is news, because there is not currently a US cell on the market with video-conferencing capabilities. Now, while in Japan serving with the US Marine Corps, I came to find out very quickly that video-calling via cell was all the rage, and have been waiting patiently for it to launch here in the us. Since it appears that Apple is now working on this, this is BIG NEWS, and I am sure many are excited to even be thinking about the prospect. The iPhone has been the #1 selling phone for several quarters in a row. This is good for the economy, this is good for apple. This is good overall, for many many reasons - therefore, it is very much newsworth. I cant fathom why youre the 100th person to say "Wow, this is so useless" or "wow, why is this news". I guess ignorance is bliss, though!

This is GREAT! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26695957)

Now you can SEE the car wreck take place!

Patents (1)

YourExperiment (1081089) | more than 5 years ago | (#26695971)

claims which indicate Apple is planning to bring video calling and recording features to the iPhone

Of course we all know that a patent claim is an indication that a product is imminently coming to market. That's why patents work so well.

Mind you, it would be somewhat odd if Apple weren't working on these capabilities. They're so far ahead of the rest of the market in UI, it would be nice if they made some effort to catch up in features. Were there any claims in the patent for "a device for the recording of digital pictures that do not look bloody awful"?

Apple is aware that having a rear-facing camera is an impediment towards video calls

I don't think the rear-facing camera is a major worry. The more pressing problem is the lack of a front-facing camera.

Great news! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26696069)

Nokia phones did it for years.

But no, this is "THE IPHONE" we are talking about - that's BIG news, you know...

Rumormongering (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696071)

"In some embodiments, the functions may include..."

NB that use of the word "may include" implies a non-exhaustive list. So what other functions might exist?

What's that you say? Programming a flying car?

OMG PONIES APPLE ARE PLANNING TO MAKE A FLYING CAR QUICK BLOG ABOUT IT AND CALL SLASHDOT!!!!!!

Re:Rumormongering (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696223)

Yeah, it's funny to watch people make wild guesses about what Apple's up to by extrapolating from the patent claims.

-jcr

And Nokia did it years ago.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26696217)

I have this five years old sh*tty Nokia 6680 and it still has 3G, dual-cameras and can do video conferencing since day one.

Missing the Business Design (1)

sqlcursor (1382061) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696299)

You forget that the iPhone, like many of Apple's products, is designed to suck you into the vortex of Apple-world without looking back. We know that ATT is going to announce tethering with the iPhone. It stands to reason that you may use the iPhone to make a video call while tethered to your MAC and use it's iSight camera and other iChat goodies. I'm sure they'll add non-mac support for PC's running webcams and a Windows version of iChat that they'll launch the same time they announce this.

Why do companies waste money like this... (1)

Kindaian (577374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696345)

In patenting obvious use of computers with plain devices attached?

An iphone is nothing else then a computer with the capability to make calls.

Why then EVERYTHING the damned computer does has to get a brand new patent?

Nokia has had phones that do this for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26696365)

I don't understand why this is news. These iPhone articles are like reading some new mother's blog about their child, and every time the kid laughs or poops she thinks it's the first time any kid has ever done that.

Keep the camera opposite the screen (5, Insightful)

thbb (200684) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696375)

Back in the 90's, I did some work for the Ontario Telepresence Project [toronto.edu] . We did lots of studies on videoconferencing, shared mediaspaces...

What strikes me given the relative lack of outcome of the project, compared to the ubiquity of today's camera phones, is that the Telepresence project had it wrong when it wanted to have people *face* each other during conversations.

It turns out, this is not what we want. Staring at your interlocutor's face is not what you do in a usual conversation, it's even embarassing. You look at a shared point of interest. Turning the camera the opposite side of the screen was the way to go. First, you could use the cell phone as a camera, and second, in a phone conversation, it's much more useful to say "look at this", than to offer a nice view of you're hairy nose.

Or, to put it like St. Exupery:
Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction...

Re:Keep the camera opposite the screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26696751)

Kind of disappointing for a .edu site that all the links (toys, people, etc...) are all broken links

Who Cares? (1)

theJML (911853) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696645)

Am I the only one that doesn't really WANT video calls from a cell phone? Sure they have their place I suppose. A business meeting connecting two conference rooms with video/audio, but when I'm talking on a cell phone I just want to talk, I don't want to have to hold thing thing away from me so the camera can have just the right view, worrying about what's going on around me and if it'll show up on the screen or if I'm really in focus and all that. It's a cell phone. On average my cell calls are like 4 minutes tops. There's absolutely no point for video of me in some store as the wife tells me we need eggs too. Or for the people unlike me that talk in the car... as if they can hold the camera right, talk on the phone AND drive. A hands free thing isn't going to help that. These people can barely drive correctly in the first place.

I'd say that they could do this already with a bluetooth handset and the current 3G iPhone facing the other way (it's got a camera on the back, and when you're using bluetooth it doesn't matter what the phone orientation is.) but the iPhone camera doesn't work with video as it stands. Not sure if it's a software limitation, or a hardware limitation. I know of a few other phones that weren't able to do video until a few firmware/OS updates. Maybe they can just do that and be done with this so people like me can keep on NOT using it.

Has anyone ever made more than one video call? (1)

bshell (848277) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696917)

Video calling on cellphones has been available for years all over the world. Does anyone use it? No. Video phones have actually been available in various incarnations for almost 40 years. Many large corporations even had them implemented throughout the company. Were they ever used? No. Skype style video calling is available. How often is it used compared to voice only? Very little. So at what point do we finally agree that the experiment has been done, and repeated sufficiently so that we can conclude the simple fact: people do not want video calling. The better question is: why do companies insist on keeping this nonsense of video calling as the "next big thing" when it has been shown quite clearly to be something nobody wants? I'd love to get Slashdot's explanation of this. Please move this to Ask Slashdot perhaps.

They're OBVIOUSLY Planning it (1)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 5 years ago | (#26696879)

Because, you know, no company ever files for a patent on something they come up with that they might want to use, but don't necessarily have plans to use.

With the number of patents Apple has and files for, I think it's more likely that this is a 'concept art' kind of patent, on an idea that they might pursue, or might not.

Only one way to go from here, and it ain't up.. (1)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26697007)

This is just awful. Clearly without Steve Jobs at the helm Apple is spiraling out of control. Video calling? What's next? Some sort of device that allows you to listen to music on the phone? Mark my words. This is the beginning of the end.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>