And as usual, its newest job listing is kicking up winds around the internet rumor mill. From what we can see about the opening, Apple’s looking for applicants well-versed in various telephony/network technologies, including VoIP, SIP, RTP, GSM/UMTS, CDMA, and IMS.
But if you think that means Apple’s setting out to build its own wireless network, hold the phone. GigaOM’s Kevin Fitchard explains:
The one acronym to key in on is IMS, which is a key component of the One Voice initiative that many of the world’s largest operators have adopted to migrate voice from circuit-switched systems to all-IP voice networks. The U.S. in particular gung-ho about IMS. Verizon Wireless and MetroPCS already use the architecture in their LTE networks, and AT&T and Sprint are implementing IMS to power their future voice and SMS services.
“IMS to me is pretty much dead against how Apple views how communications should be,” says Bubley. “I don’t think that they’ll hand the keys to the communication kingdom back to the operator community when they have been such poor custodians of the customer experience. Operators have been asleep at the wheel.”
He suggests that Apple might instead develop a communication system that is compatible with IMS but not support full IMS and by doing so it would meet mobile operator requirements while at the same time maintain control over its own communications.
“I think they would put something in iCloud that acts as a transcoder or border function,” he says. “I would consider some kind of cloud-based solution … it would be IMS-ish.”
“Whatever Apple does, it will want [voice] to work on its cellular and non-cellular devices,” he says. “Any voice platform will need a non-SIM mode … [like] an over-the-top extension of IMS. Apple won’t want a completely different voice experience on the iPhone and a Wi-Fi only iPad.”
Apple could create a SIP-based communications platform that integrates FaceTime, iMessage and voice into a single multi-faceted service – available exclusively to any member of the Apple club.
So, while we don’t know exactly what Apple has up its giant strategic sleeve, one thing’s for certain: Someday, some way, we’ll finally be able to make phone calls from our iPads!
And that’s plenty enough for me.