iPhone: HDVideo Before HDVoice?

Earlier today there was post over at MobileCrunch that suggests the new iPhone 4G will have the ability to record HD video. Most people seem to think that that would be a cool and attractive feature. I suppose it will be. But isn’t it more than a little off the mark for the iPhone to offer HD video even before they offer HD Voice? It is still fundamentally a phone, right?

Of course, offering video recording is a freestanding feature that doesn’t require any participation on the part of the cellular carrier. That makes it relatively easy to offer. It also promotes the purchase of phones with larger flash memory storage, which drives up revenues.

It still seems strange to me that Orange is rolling out HD Voice in Moldova and parts of Europe, but there’s little concern about voice quality in the US. Heck, it seems most iPhone users are happy just when their calls aren’t being dropped, at least in NYC and SFO. But that’s not so much the fault of the iPhone now, is it?

  • Marc Abrams

    Oh, I think there is a lot of unhappiness with the call quality on iPhones. It’s just that we are powerless as consumers in the US with respect to improving it.

    I think HD voice will improve customer satisfaction, but cannot be sold for more by the operator. The cost to update the infrastructure to support HD is actually considerable, even though I suspect that it’s less difficult to do than the wireless companies admit.

    But the real issue is that even if HD voice was available, most callers would hear very little difference because the calls terminate to the PSTN, which is narrow-band G.711. I agree that depending on the device itself, wireless to wireless calls would be much improved, but since the US operators give these away under the current plans offered, it would be hard to justify the upgrade at any price because it’s an expense with no revenue bump following that.

    However, once one carrier actually does enable HD voice in the US, the rest will follow suit because they will have to to keep churn rates down.

    marc.

  • Zach

    I make HD voice calls now on my iPhone – there are at least 3 SIP softphone apps available that support G.722…

    Z

    • True enough, but it won’t be widespread until its carrier supported. I’m guessing that the % of iPhones loaded with a SIP client is extremely small against the installed base.

      • Bob

        EXACTLY!! You’re complaining they don’t support HD-Voice, but voice is still fundamentally on the Circuit Side on mobiles! It’s TDM! Why put HD-Voice on a phone when it’s effectively unusable? If people want/need HD-Voice, they’ll download a VoIP client.

        You’re just trolling for headline by putting it in the context of the iPhone. It’s fine to call out Apple for their stupidity (god knows, they give enough valid instances) – but using Apple as link bait when your beef is with the carriers is just ignorant.

        • Hold on there bud! HDVoice predates VoIP by a wide margin. people do HDVoice over TDM every day….G.722 is an artifact of ISDN, an aspect of a TDM network. Both are technologies of the mid-1980s. Since G.722 sustains the 64kbps channel of the TDM realm it can even pass SS7 core networks.

          Further, AMR-WB (G.722.2) has been part of the 3GPP standards for years, and an ITU standard since 2003. If someone wanted to do HDVoice over circuit switched they could do it without too much trouble at all. There is absolutely no requirement for IP to have HDVoice, even though that’s where much of the consumer market is focused.

          What I was highlighting was the changed mission of the device. It’s role as a phone is being diminished. It’s being loaded up with chrome and trim like a ’57 Chevy. Shiny stuff that doesn’t enhance the core of its role….being a phone.

          OTOH, people like shiny objects. Those Chevy’s are still popular, but hardly efficient transportation.

    • Leo

      Which three? 🙂

  • ElEsido

    Do youn know if the iphone’s mic and speakers are HD voice ready? It makes little sente fo use a high quality codec when the mic is optimized for traditional low quality. Same with the speaker.

    • I’ve had several conversations with people using G.722 capable SIP soft phones on the iPhone. To my ear they sound very good, definitely HD-grade.