Monday, July 9, 2007


While much of OS X is unchanged since 2002 or 2003, one of the main areas of improvement for Apple has been iChat: first an IM client, then a VoIP system, then video, now (with iChat AV 3) support for 10-way H.264 videoconference calls.

What I found striking about the iPhone was that by excluding iChat from the iPhone, Apple was not only limiting Mac/iPhone interoperability, but forfeiting the right to use the iPhone to build positive network effects for the OS X platform. This is what the iPhone should be about — use network effects to both launch the new platform and also make the other platforms (Mac, iPod) more valuable. All without (as with the 1985 LaserWriter) making the product less attractive for the vast majority of Windoze users out there.

Now endgadget thinks it’s found evidence that AT&T may soon allow iChat, as part of a survey of iPhone users about poor EDGE performance. The original report by iPhone owner Ben Goetting certainly sounds like he is keen to get is AI back.

Like engadget, I’m not sure what the survey mention means, but if I were the iPhone platform manager for Apple it would be one of my top priorities to win AT&T’s cooperation. I suspect AT&T would be concerned about selling a phone that can IM and videoconference with Apple computers but not with other AT&T phones.

I do have one guess: perhaps the performance of iChat AV would be so abysmal with EDGE that Apple is waiting for better bandwidth to be able to fully interoperate with Macs.

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