Both BusinessWeek and Fortune have posted articles about Appleis new iChat AV teleconferencing application, and they both seem to like it. BusinessWeekis Alex Salkever thinks that telcos are "about to get whacked" by Appleis desire to give users what they want, since you can easily call any other iChat AV user without paying a cent to the telephone company. Mr. Salkever goes on to look at the low system requirements and how easy iChat AV is to set up and use. From the BusinessWeek article:
Best of all, iChat lets me bypass the phone company. For the few people on my instant-messaging buddy list who have iChat, I donit pick up the phone anymore to talk to them. I simply look to see if theyire available and, if they are, I click on the voice connection button in iChat. A few seconds later, I have the equivalent of a phone line. If everyone on my IM list had the new version of iChat, I would think very seriously about dumping my wireline phone service. Just give me a cordless headset to connect to my Mac, and my IM will supplant the phone almost entirely.
Everyone agrees that communications using packets of data typified by the Internet will ultimately replace the circuit-based system used by the legacy phone network. All the big telecom providers are busily switching from networks built largely to handle dedicated circuits for voice calls to vastly more efficient and flexible networks that handle voice traffic in bits and bytes, just like data. But their efforts presuppose a paradigm where theyill continue their role as the middlemen who route all calls.
Fortuneis Peter Lewis also sees iChat AV as a great thing. He says that while video teleconferencing over the internet isnit new, it hasnit been as easy to set up and use as it is now with iChat AV. Mr. Lewis also looks at Microsoftis MSN Messenger 6, which he sees as not being as easy to set up and use as Appleis own solution. From the Fortune article:
Apple is changing all that with software that makes Internet-based video chats cheap and simple, using the popular AOL Instant Messaging (AIM) and its own .Mac services. With the new iChat AV prototype software (free, for now) and an iSight digital web camera ($149), a Mac user with a high-speed connection can "call" home from a business trip, sympathize as his youngster shows off a skinned knee (or a new piercing), make goo-goo eyes or grouse with the spouse for an hour, and never pay a dime to the phone company.
The iChat AV software allows Mac users to create "buddy lists," familiar to tens of millions of IM aficionados, which let you know if friends are online and able to chat via text, voice, or video. One catch: Your buddies must be on AOLis Instant Messenger service, which is free, or Appleis .Mac service, which costs $100 a year. Although AOL keeps promising to interconnect with users of MSN, Yahoo, and other IM providers, it has yet to do so.