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Apple confirms 3G VoIP apps on iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch; Skype is waiting

IPad-phone
iPad: Can you hear me now? Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
Apple Inc. confirmed last night that it is now allowing iPhone, iPad and iPod touch developers to build apps that can make Internet calls over a 3G cellular network.

"We revised our Program License Agreement in conjunction with our updated Software Development Kit for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad Apps," wrote an Apple spokesperson.  "Included in this update is the ability for developers to create VoIP apps that utilize cellular networks." 

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol -- essentially, Web-based telephony.

As we reported last night, several VoiP apps have been approved for use on the iPhone, including iCall and Fring.

Skype, one of the most popular VoIP applications, said it had a 3G iPhone app ready to go, but wanted to get a couple of service details squared away.

Skype is waiting for Apple to clarify when the new SDK terms of service for iPhone OS 3.2 SDK beta, which were published yesterday, will go into effect for current iPhone users who are still bound under the terms of iPhone OS 3.12 SDK, according to Skype spokesman Chaim Haas.

"As soon as we have that clarification, Skype will submit its application for approval," Haas wrote.

Apple announced Wednesday that iPad owners will be able to purchase monthly 3G plans for the device, which is quite a bit larger than a normal cellular phone, but could easily be used to make and receive calls.

Now that Apple and AT&T have green-lighted 3G data calls, iPad owners will not necessarily need an additional voice plan (not that the option for one was announced, but plenty of people were wondering).

In fact, the arrival of VoIP to iPhone may well be the beginning of a long decline for the concept of "voice minutes" -- at this point, there's really no point in differentiating one kind of call from another -- it's all data.

-- David Sarno

 
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