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  • Apple Working on "Walkie-Talkie" for iPhones


    A patent application Apple made back in November shows that the company is working on a way to allow iPhone users to send data - including text and even short audio messages - over the GSM voice channel, bypassing the servers that carriers use to transfer text messages from one phone to another. AppleInsider got a hold of the application, which describes technology that would work somewhat similarly to the Nextel Direct Connect service, which allows handset users to communicate directly with each other over the cellular network rather than the phone system.

    Apple's patent filing notes that carriers must have backend servers called Short Message Service Centers (SMSCs) to handle text message traffic. These SMSCs transfer text messages in a store-and-forward fashion and as such may be overwhelmed when lots of users are trying to send texts at the same time. Apple proposes using the voice channel that is normally used to carry calls on the cellular network as a way to carry data from one iPhone to another.

    The voice channels on a GSM network are meant for carrying voice, not digital data itself. The technology proposed by Apple would actually "vocalize" pieces of data, for example a telephone number on the screen of an iPhone. A user would select the telephone number and use some command to send it to another iPhone, and the system would convert that data into sound. The recipient could then get the message as a voicemail, or their iPhone could alternatively convert the sound back into data.

    One possibility noted in the filing is that the messages sent could be short audio messages, which would end up being like Nextel's "walkie-talkie" feature, where users could communicate sequentially rather than at the same time. The technology also could be used to connect multiple users on a sort of shared party line.

    image via AppleInsider
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple Working on "Walkie-Talkie" for iPhones started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 29 Comments
    1. ch0b1ts's Avatar
      ch0b1ts -
      Does anyone else hate this feature in phones?

      It is a phone, use it like a phone! If you want a Walkie-Talkie then buy a Walkie-Talkie. It it extremely annoying to hear both sides of someone's conversation that usually consists of a loud, garbled "Yo, where you at?" followed by "I'm wit my girl. Where you at?"

      It is a gimmick with no value added and Apple's time is better spent developing new technologies, ones that don't annoy everyone around you.

      Edit:

      Using Half Duplex communications seems kinda retarded on a Full-Duplex device. Why would you intentionally downgrade your communication ability?
    1. billchase2's Avatar
      billchase2 -
      I too have zero use for this...
    1. LGgeek's Avatar
      LGgeek -
      Many think this is not useful but in the construction trades this feature is heavily used.
    1. bcastro's Avatar
      bcastro -
      isn't this just push-2-talk? I actually like this feature.
    1. hollow0's Avatar
      hollow0 -
      push 2 talk is useless. Get a walkie talkie. The feature that is explained in this article seems closer to iPhone messenger kind of like the BB messenger where all blackberry users can message each other privately with text, audio, and i believe video or photo.
    1. playboii's Avatar
      playboii -
      Quote Originally Posted by hollow0 View Post
      push 2 talk is useless. Get a walkie talkie. The feature that is explained in this article seems closer to iPhone messenger kind of like the BB messenger where all blackberry users can message each other privately with text, audio, and i believe video or photo.
      this is what i was thinking too sounds like a apples version of BBM
    1. JesusAyllon's Avatar
      JesusAyllon -
      i think this is cool i have a nextel nd theyre pretty tight.... now imagine a iphone... this **** is awsome
    1. waheedtarin's Avatar
      waheedtarin -
      Why waste money and time in devloping wallow talkies when they can just improve there service and open up the phone a bit it's litterly locked to apple and they do what ever they want with it they are slowly adding things to make it seem like it's new remember like landscape, mms, copy paste video camera like WTF all the other **** phones had those like 5 years ago great job apple welocme to 2010
    1. adp's Avatar
      adp -
      Quote Originally Posted by hollow0 View Post
      push 2 talk is useless. Get a walkie talkie. The feature that is explained in this article seems closer to iPhone messenger kind of like the BB messenger where all blackberry users can message each other privately with text, audio, and i believe video or photo.
      A walkie talkie only has so much range. The feature is useful for the contracting/construction/public service fields, etc. If eliminates the time wasted trying to dial. Not to mention texting. I know this feature is not useful for some of us, but let's not generalize.

      Personally, I don't think an iPhone is the most rugged phone suitable for these - but that's my opinion.
    1. whereswaldo's Avatar
      whereswaldo -
      BBM for iPhone, I like 
    1. Reggyr07's Avatar
      Reggyr07 -
      I think this would be awesome. I had a nextel before my iPhone and I used the walkie alot back then to talk to a lot of ppl because I knew a lot of ppl with them. Now that almost everybody I kno has an iPhone, we'd be able to just walkie each other for faster communication.
    1. hollow0's Avatar
      hollow0 -
      Quote Originally Posted by adp View Post
      A walkie talkie only has so much range. The feature is useful for the contracting/construction/public service fields, etc. If eliminates the time wasted trying to dial. Not to mention texting. I know this feature is not useful for some of us, but let's not generalize.

      Personally, I don't think an iPhone is the most rugged phone suitable for these - but that's my opinion.
      i agree but if someone wanted these features they would be better off with a nextel.

      Quote Originally Posted by waheedtarin View Post
      they are slowly adding things to make it seem like it's new remember like landscape, mms, copy paste video camera like WTF all the other **** phones had those like 5 years ago great job apple welocme to 2010
      lol!
    1. adp's Avatar
      adp -
      Quote Originally Posted by hollow0 View Post
      i agree but if someone wanted these features they would be better off with a nextel.
      Right. Maybe Apple is just trying to cover all bases. But once again, I just don't see an iPhone being practical in a construction environment for example.
    1. hollow0's Avatar
      hollow0 -
      Quote Originally Posted by adp View Post
      Right. Maybe Apple is just trying to cover all bases. But once again, I just don't see an iPhone being practical in a construction environment for example.
      Yeah it's too much of a sexy phone to be put in such a physical environment lol.
    1. PhrequenC's Avatar
      PhrequenC -
      honestly whats the point of BBM? just text or call the damn person if they have a bb already obviously they have a number too!
    1. hollow0's Avatar
      hollow0 -
      Quote Originally Posted by PhrequenC View Post
      honestly whats the point of BBM? just text or call the damn person if they have a bb already obviously they have a number too!
      i think with BBMs all of those are free. meaning it wont go against your text message plan. So if you don't want unlimited text because it's too expensive then hop on over to the blackberry messenger and send all the audio and text for free. That's the advantage.
    1. Effenpig!'s Avatar
      Effenpig! -
      You would be surprised just how many people in construction are using iPhones. And push to talk is HUGE in construction and other service iNdustries. Used to be everyone I new had nextel and everyone used it. Just an example, when I was an electrician you could be pulling wire and it was awsome to be able to hit that button and communicate with the guy feeding the wire. Although I remember in some NYC diners they would have signs banning it, because some people were just idiots with it. YO, Where you at.

      Anyway alot of people I know started leaving nextel because of high prices and made up charges, and it just kind of died away. But those phone were great, and some were built like tanks. It was common to just drop them and throw them when working. Didn't ever have to worry that it might break
    1. THEINFAMOUS's Avatar
      THEINFAMOUS -
      Quote Originally Posted by Reggyr07 View Post
      I think this would be awesome. I had a nextel before my iPhone and I used the walkie alot back then to talk to a lot of ppl because I knew a lot of ppl with them. Now that almost everybody I kno has an iPhone, we'd be able to just walkie each other for faster communication.
      this
    1. stive's Avatar
      stive -
      If they make a iphone with the direct contact like the nextel phone it will be insane. I use a lot the direct call in where i work for buisness. If they can put this in iphone lot of poeple will buy them!!!
    1. SquareWheel's Avatar
      SquareWheel -
      Title: Apple Working on "Walkie-Talkie" for iPhones
      Actual: Apple files patent, something they do for plenty of technologies that don't materialize.

      Stop the spam already.