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This article was published on March 7, 2010


iPhone video calling revealed? Don’t get excited.

iPhone video calling revealed? Don’t get excited.
Martin Bryant
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Martin Bryant

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Martin Bryant is founder of Big Revolution, where he helps tech companies refine their proposition and positioning, and develops high-qualit Martin Bryant is founder of Big Revolution, where he helps tech companies refine their proposition and positioning, and develops high-quality, compelling content for them. He previously served in several roles at TNW, including Editor-in-Chief. He left the company in April 2016 for pastures new.

A post on a blog called Funky Space Monkey this weekend has got Apple fanboys all hot under the collar.

The post suggests that UK mobile network O2 has accidentally revealed the next iPhone’s video calling capability. Its evidence? The O2 iPhone Simplicity tariff, which lists a price for video calls.

So, has O2 accidentally let slip a secret? After all, why would you need an iPhone tariff for video calls if the iPhone can’t do them? Don’t get too excited. Right here is a case of “less than meets the eye”.

O2’s Simplicity tariff is a ‘SIM-only’ only deal (“SIM-plicity”, get it?). The iPhone version of this tariff offers a SIM card to those with unlocked iPhones who want to use O2 without signing a contract. Just pop the SIM card in your iPhone and you’re in business. Unlike the usual Simplicity deal, the iPhone version has the iPhone-only Visual Voicemail feature priced into it, along with free wifi at The Cloud and BT Openzone hotspots, a perk O2 adds for its iPhone customers.

However, there’s nothing at all to stop users of this SIM from putting it in another phone, including those capable of video calls. To prepare for this possibility, O2 needs a price to charge you for video calls to cover the vague possibility you might make them.

So, don’t get too excited. The next version of the iPhone might well have a front-facing camera for video calls, but to base that assertion on the existence of a tariff, without understanding why that tariff exists, is a bit of a stretch.