Well, it took a year, but we've finally got a VoIP-equipped iPhone.
Developer Fring on Monday unveiled a prerelease version of software that allows any unlocked iPhone to chat or make calls. All common VoIP clients are supported, including Skype.
Never has rule breaking been so cool.
Too bad the iEmpire can't be thrilled with Fring's breakthrough. Not officially, at least. Apple
Enabling Skype or any of its VoIP peers on the iPhone would have the effect of piling up a few hundred free minutes without paying these carriers for the privilege. (As I said, rule breaking.)
But shouldn't Apple and everyone else have seen this coming? I was talking about it a year ago and, back then, I was the falsetto in a chorus of baritones. Sure the iPhone is worth $600, I wrote. Any device poised to break the rules so thoroughly would have to be.
What all this means, oddly, is that Apple has a choice between playing the role of rebel (i.e., support and extend a VoIP iPhone) and being a good partner (i.e., put the kibosh on any attempt to unlock iGadgets).
But that's no choice at all, is it? The best option (still) is the one I wrote about in January: Sell Mac addicts unlocked iPhones at a premium, and pay a portion of the added revenue in kickbacks to Ma Bell and other providers that have signed exclusive deals.
Be a rebel and a partner, Apple. This is one of those rare occasions when you really can have it both ways.
Brrrrrrring! It's related Foolishness. For you:
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Fool contributor Tim Beyers didn't own shares in any stocks mentioned at the time of publication. You can check out Tim's portfolio and his latest blog entry. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy calls.