Folks at Light Reading have discovered job postings on Apple’s website, which has revealed that Apple is actively looking for telephony software engineers to work on iOS.
Kevin Fitchard of GigaOM network believes that based on the job requirements, Apple is planning to add Voice-over-IP (VoIP) capabilities to the iPhone and iPad in the future.
Some are speculating that Apple is secretly planning to bypass carriers and launch its own voice service. We find it a little hard to believe that Apple wants to become an operator. Fitchard agrees, he writes:
The extreme scenarios are: 1) Apple becomes a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), buying wholesale 4G capacity from carriers, whom it would then relegate to dumb pipes, or 2) Apple buys its own spectrum and builds its own 4G networks. I find the first possibility only slightly less ridiculous than the second. Apple doesn’t want to become an operator for the same reasons Google doesn’t want to be one.
Excerpt from the job description from Apple’s website
But we won’t be surprised if Apple adds VoIP capabilities to the iPhone and other iOS devices. It seems to be the next logical step for Apple and would be a perfect addition to iMessage – Apple’s messaging service and FaceTime – Apple’s video calling feature. In fact, as Fitchardpoints out Apple could “create an SIP-based communications platform that integrates FaceTime, iMessage and voice into a single multifaceted service, available exclusively to any member of the Apple club”. The VoIP capabilities could be a killer feature if Apple can offer high definition audio calls, something The Next Web spoke about few months back.
Imagine firing up the Phone.app from your device’s springboard and making a call. If your phone detects that the other device is running iOS, then it automatically switches seamlessly to an HD audio call using your data connection and not your minutes. Lets call it VoiceTime. [..]
[..] If you’ve ever made an HD audio call using Skype, you know how crystal clear it really sounds. It’s fantastic. Many podcasters use Skype because of this audio quality.
It would also partially address (partially since it will be iOS device to iOS device only) one of the gripes that some users have about the iPhone, that voice quality is not the best.
While it would be great for millions of iOS device users who will be able to make free local and international calls, it won’t go down too well with carriers who are already losing billions in SMS revenues due to social messaging apps like iMessage.