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Cellphones Communications Google Handhelds Iphone Apple

Official Google Voice App Approved For iOS 147

Posted by timothy
from the do-they-need-a-killer-app? dept.
silverpig writes "Apple has finally approved the official Google Voice app for iOS. After 16 months of being in app-review limbo, the app is finally here, but only for users in the US, and not for iPod Touch users. An interesting use for the app would be to use it as a dialing front end on an iPod touch in concert with a VOIP service, but it seems like this isn't an option for now. It seems like non-US users can get the app if they have a US iTunes account. You can create a US iTunes account without a credit card by following this Apple article."
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Official Google Voice App Approved For iOS

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  • Apple is playing nicely with Google for a change? *GASP*

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      This is clearly an attack on Adobe somehow!

      I don't understand the logistics of it, but I'm sure it somehow ruins flash on the iPhone.

    • by rsborg (111459) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @07:47PM (#34249834) Homepage

      I mean, we can ignore Apple and Google playing nicely with each other on:
      webkit
      html5
      iOS maps
      search provider for safari
      up-to-date mac versions of most google stuff
      etc...

      • by RobNich (85522)

        Actually, iOS maps is a stretch at this point. The app has barely changed since the initial release of the iPhone, and it's missing a ton of features at this point.

        • by icebike (68054) on Wednesday November 17, 2010 @12:31AM (#34251520)

          Except that Google is still providing the content, (all Apple really did was write a thin wrapper around google maps - the web version).

          Google sneaks in Traffic via croud sourcing, trails, bike routes and a lot of other content that Apple can't prevent, because all they are actually getting is images fed to them by google.

          Its pretty funny really, Apple brags they wrote maps, only to have Traffic show up on the Exact day Google releases it and Apple was none the wiser (and by some reports pisses off).

          But all the cool Google maps features added to Android are missing from from the iPhone.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by jo_ham (604554)

            Where do they "brag" about "writing google maps" on the iPhone? From all the talk about how it was "obvious" that Youtube wouldn't work on an iPhone (because it doesn't have Flash), it seems that the general situation that many people are ignorant of just what apps the phone comes with, let alone who wrote them. Apple's entire stance on apps has been the promotion of third party developers rather than itself.

            What is really missing from the iPhone that Android has (at least some Android handsets I have seen)

          • What in the world are you talking about? Of course Traffic is an intended feature. The app has a button to turn it on and off!

    • No they're playing nice with the EU so they don't have to fork over 100 million dollars in fines

      • by jo_ham (604554)

        By releasing US-only software. Yeah, right.

        That would also be "millions of Euros in fines" if it were the case.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by t2t10 (1909766)

      Nice? It took them a year and a half to approve something that tons of other applications have already provided for that long? That's not "nice".

      This was a seriously anti-competitive move by Apple, trying to damage Google Voice while favoring their competitors. Fortunately, iPhone is not big enough of a player for that to have mattered much.

      • Yeah, iPhone is totally this bit player that nobody ever thinks about... cause you know I'll bet theres only A POST A DAY on slashdot about it.

        • by t2t10 (1909766)

          As far as the overall phone market is concerned, yeah, iPhone is a bit player. And it's the overall phone market that matters to Google Voice.

          • Is it really fair to say that the iPhone is a bit player?

            • by tehcyder (746570)

              Is it really fair to say that the iPhone is a bit player?

              Yes, the last report I read had the iPhone at about 10% of smartphones, so less than 5% of all mobile phones.

    • And it only took 16 months! That sure is swell of Apple.

  • Canada? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Denis Lemire (27713) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @07:43PM (#34249800) Homepage

    Google Voice sounds really cool... Sure wish they'd bring it to Canada... In time I guess...

    • by silverpig (814884)
      You can kind of get google voice in Canada with a workaround [wifitalk.ca]. It's not pretty and not exactly perfectly usable, but it can be done. The free text messaging is nice, and free long distance is okay if you don't care about receiving calls to a US number. You can also get the app in Canada quite easily with a very simple workaround [wifitalk.ca].
      • by sl149q (1537343)

        It doesn't appear to be possible to get a US account without a credit card. There is no free option anymore (as described in the above links.)

    • The voice chat thingy in GMail (which requires a browser plugin) actually works in Canada - including the ability to call phone numbers worldwide.

  • by hezekiah957 (1219288) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @07:45PM (#34249818)
    I'm wondering why they restrict it to iPhone only...
    • I'm wondering why they restrict it to iPhone only...

      Because Apple wants you to buy their iPhone or iPad ... especially if you already have an iPod touch.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mr100percent (57156)

        It doesn't work on iPad either, since the iPad can't place calls. Google's app has no VoIP support

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      I bet contracts. If the touch let you make voip calls, lots of people would probably forgo a cell phone. If it works at work and at home that is all a great many people need.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by frnic (98517)

        Google Voice will not replace a phone - it needs a phone to work.

        However, iPod (3 or 4) work fine as a cell phone when used with a Mifi, the only limitation I have found is that you can not pair a bluetooth head set with the iPod and must either use the built-in microphone (gen 4) or a cable ear bud/microphone combo. Line2 App is an excellent method of using an iPod in place of a cell phone.

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          No it just needs a number. Nothing stopping you from using sip for that.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by SirMasterboy (872152)

          I have been using Google Voice for nearly a year without a phone, it's called Gizmo5. Check out SIP and you will understand the real benefit to Google Voice and why you don't actually need a real phone or any minutes to make and receiver unlimited calls.

      • by windcask (1795642)

        I have Skype on my iPod Touch; it's basically the same thing (plus IM).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by schnikies79 (788746)

      Because it's a phone forwarding app, not a VOIP app. It would do nothing without an active phone connection.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        You can forward it to a sip phone number though.

      • Because it's a phone forwarding app, not a VOIP app. It would do nothing without an active phone connection.

        I don't think that's the reason. It's not as if people who have an iPod touch lack some other kind of phone access. If I wrote an app which allowed people to make updates to their web site, would it get rejected because iOS devices aren't web servers?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Matt Perry (793115)

      I'm wondering why they restrict it to iPhone only...

      Because it's not a VoIP application and requires a telephone connection to work. I'm sure someone will point out that it can integrate with SIP, but that that's a non-discoverable, for nerds only feature for which Google doesn't provide any web interface or instructions on how to use. Joe Average isn't going to be using SIP with Google Voice until it's officially supported. Google did buy Gizmo5 so they may make it happen at some point in the future.

      • by Vancorps (746090)
        That's news to me since Google voice on my Android works as long as wifi is enabled. It can use a phone connection but by no means does it have to and by no means is it only available to geeks as that is the primary feature of Google voice. Are you saying that the app on iOS is that way? If so then I don't know why you would install it as you can control all of that from the web.
        • What? I don't know what kind of black magic you're using, but Google Voice on my Android phone needs a phone connection to make/receive calls. It doesn't do VoIP as far as I can tell, so you must have sacrificed many children to the dark gods to get that to work.
    • by icebike (68054) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @08:19PM (#34250120)

      I'm wondering why they restrict it to iPhone only...

      The summary had the muddled statement:

      An interesting use for the app would be to use it as a dialing front end on an iPod touch in concert with a VOIP service, but it seems like this isn't an option for now.

      ... which leads you to believe that Google Voice could be used on an ipod touch as a dialer for voip.

      But GV still uses your Cell minutes to make and receive calls, it does not use Voip, it does not let you talk over wifi.

      I suspect that GV could become a full fledged voip service at the flip of the switch but Google does not want to piss off the carriers just yet. So you would still need the carriers unless you had wifi, and that leaves out the ability to use it on an ipod.

      However if you have an old iphone laying around after you upgraded to something newer, you can download and install it on that phone, (I tested this with a 3G) even if that iPhone does not have a sim card installed. BUT ONLY for SMS, and checking your Google Voicemail Not Voice calls.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by SuperMog2002 (702837)
        Now that 4.0 allows you to background a VOIP app and still place and receive calls, what's stopping you from installing a VOIP client on your iPod Touch and telling Google Voice to use that number?
        • by silverpig (814884)
          Absolutely nothing. This can easily be done with Skype, Fring, Truphone, Bria... There are many options. This is what the comment referred to.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Firehed (942385)

      Google Voice is NOT a VoIP service (at least not the part you interact with), so using it from anything other than the iPhone would be rather difficult. Unless you wanted to use your iPod Touch/iPad as a remote control of sorts to have GV dial out through your home landline. It's akin to asking why there's no phone app on the iPod Touch. Or any other internet-connected, non-phone device out there for that matter.

      • Google Voice is NOT a VoIP service (at least not the part you interact with), so using it from anything other than the iPhone would be rather difficult.

        Unless you interact with it through the GMail web interface with the (maybe Chrome only?) voice-calling add-on, in which case it is a VoIP service. But, at any rate, the iOS app isn't a VoIP app.

        You can use Google Voice from a non-phone device (with the normal Google Voice web interface, for instance) quite well, though of course you need to have a phone to

        • by sampas (256178) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @11:47PM (#34251328)
          Asterisk 1.8 has support for Google's unique protocol for voice. The result: Free calls anywhere in the US from any device or other PBX you've connected to your Asterisk box. All you need is to have compiled jabber and gtalk into your Asterisk build. Free calls in and out. FreeSwitch also supports Google Voice trunks. Google Voice is still having issues now and then, though, so it's not yet ready for prime time. I suspect that's why they're not rolling it out faster. You can connect any SIP or IAX client, wireless or not, to your Asterisk/FreeSwitch box.
    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by DragonWriter (970822)

      I'm wondering why they restrict it to iPhone only...

      Because the Google Voice app isn't a VoIP app, the phone-related functionality requires actually having a phone.

      It would be of limited utility on an iPod touch or other non-phone iOS device.

    • the only purpose to use the dialer is to call a 3rd party number that re-dials the number you wanted to call so that they see your google voice name/number on their caller ID. You're still using your cellphone carrier's voice minutes. For now, it won't work on iPod or iPad. There are Third party GV apps that will make your phone ring instead.

    • I think TFA is a bit unclear.

      Remember that the GVoice app doesn't give you a phone on your iPod/iPhone. It's really a dialer/sms app. It doesn't create a phone endpoint, you 'call' by dialing from the app, and then google calls you and the recipient, creating a connection. There's no SIP endpoint (yet) created on your iPhone/iPod.

      It does allow texting, which would help me some on my iPod touch, getting push notifications, but really the mobile websiite has improved so much since the app was first submitt

  • Whats worse? Apple taking a YEAR AND A HALF to approve an app, the google voice app. Or Google for still not offering the service outside the US? I'm kinda upset by both of them ...

    Having said that, IMHO apple is just giving in because of the latest governmental inquiries ...

    • Re:Whats worse? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Microlith (54737) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @08:00PM (#34249992)

      Not offering the service outside the US I can understand, it takes time and money to work through any regulatory issues covering phone service in any country.

      Apple sitting on it for 1.5 years? Less execusable. Stop me while I don't rush out to buy an iPhone.

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        STOP! STOP STOP!

        (you asked us to stop you when you don't rush out and buy an iPhone)

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by interkin3tic (1469267)

          As requested, I am writing up a cease and desist letter telling microlith to cease and desist ceasing or desisting to buy an iphone.

      • by Danathar (267989)

        Your loss. It's nice in the walled garden...

        • by Microlith (54737)

          Thanks, I'll pass. I don't need to be told how to use my property. I also don't like kool-aid.

          • Err.

            Okay.

            Steve Jobs doesn't stand behind me personally to watch me and make sure that I'm only doing approved things with my phone.

            OTOH, no one's watching the Ovi Store or the Android Marketplace and it's turning into a haven for malware.

            (Well, the Ovi Store has to have apps in it first before malware can creep in.)

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          Your loss. It's nice in the walled garden...

          Stockholm syndrome anyone?

      • by cgenman (325138)

        They're probably also trying to figure out how to monetize it. Why bother with investing in differing phone systems and regulatory environments if you can't figure out how to keep the lights on?

    • by t2t10 (1909766)

      In most countries in the world, Google can't offer the service easily. For example, in many countries, telecoms are not obligated to give anybody else access, anybody who wants a phone number needs to register with the government, and/or there are strong requirements for providing data retention and phone tapping.

      So, I wouldn't hold my breath for people offering this in other countries. The only way Google could easily do this is if they bought Skype or one of the other big international VoIP providers th

    • by garcia (6573)

      I have a Google Voice account. I have an iPhone. I now have the Google Voice iPhone application. I use Google Voice for free SMS (I refuse to pay AT&T for something the GSM standard provides for free with every packet) and a phone number where people can leave me a voicemail on my website. Because of these disclaimers I feel I can speak to the usefulness of the application and Google Voice.

      1. The application is lame. Very lame. You'd think by them delaying it for 1.5 years Google would have had plenty o

      • by Stooshie (993666)
        Although I agree with your points. If Google had changed the app it would have to be re-submitted to Apple for approval again. Another 16 months wait?
    • Or Google for still not offering the service outside the US?

      I thought the only reason that Google Voice was economical in the US was because the cost of a call there is billed to both caller and receiver, to cover the cost of the usage of their respective networks.

      In the UK, for example, the caller pays 100% of the cost of the call, and there's a regulatory framework in place where the caller's network pays the receiver's network to receive the call.

      My understanding of the way GV works is that it calls bot

  • Apple is clearly abusing its users: If you buy one of my outrageously overpriced devices, you will only be able to login as an unprivileged user, we reserve the right to login as administrators. You will be able to install applications, but only if we approve them first. We decide what apps you get and what apps you don't arbitrarily, and you have no part in that process. If you want to install an app, first you need to sign up in our store, give us all of your personal information, and you will have to giv

    • by rsborg (111459)

      If you buy one of my outrageously overpriced devices, you will only be able to login as an unprivileged user, we reserve the right to login as administrators.

      Explain to me how this is different on the Droid X or G2? Google's hands aren't clean here... they're letting the manufacturers screw you over just as bad as Apple by not fighting anti-tampers and locked bootloaders.

      • by Superken7 (893292) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @08:43PM (#34250288) Journal

        Excuse me, but last time I checked the android market did NOT require me to enter my private information, much less my CREDIT CARD info just for going into the market or downloading free apps.

        Moreover, you can install apps from third parties whenever you like on all android devices, which simply is not the case for apple devices.

        Thirdly, you can purchase developer phones with google's propietary stuff and unlocked bootloaders if you want to. Do you really expect google to force all manufacturers to have their device unlocked and still have them feel comfortable putting android in all of their high end devices? Android is overtaking all other mobile OSs for a reason.

        Sure. even if the OS is open and available to download from a git repository, not all hardware running android is open. No big news there. But Apple is clearly much more on the "dictatorship"(yes I know you can chose not to buy an iphone, thats what I do) side with their much stronger policies for total control.

        To sum up, no they are clearly not nearly as "bad" as Apple, like I have shown

        • I don't have a CC on file with itunes and I've been using it for years.

          • by timepilot (116247)

            I tried setting up a brand new ipod touch last night. The apple store REQUIRES a credit card for new itunes store accounts. You can delete the card information after the setup is complete, but in order to access the store you HAVE to enter Visa/MC/Amex or Paypal creds.

            • That's a possibility. I did have a debit card on file when I first started the account. I've been using iTunes cards ever since.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward
              • Thank you for that informative article.

                You have beautifully demonstrated the difference between iPhones & Android.

                iPhone: Want to download a free app? We'll make it so difficult to do without a credit card that there a 15 step knowledge base article on how you need to do it.

                Android: Click on the app & wait for it to install.

                Which one just works?

                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  But that's about as difficult as the process is to create a Kindle account, a Steam account, a Google Checkout account or any other online account.

                  Are you saying that Kindle and Steam are both user unfriendly?

                  • But that's about as difficult as the process is to create *snip* a Google Checkout account

                    My point is that you don't need a google account to download free applications.

                    Are you saying that Kindle and Steam are both user unfriendly?

                    If you are unable to download free applications without going through a laborious account creation process (including entering a credit card), then they're certainly less user friendly than Android when it comes to downloading free apps.

                    • Yes and the marketplace isn't keeping track of updates orotber data either.

                      Being the easiest method isn't always best. Cutting something out of an already lean process means you may have cut out something more vital.

                      What exactly is the process for buying apps on the market place anyway?

                    • Yes and the marketplace isn't keeping track of updates orotber data either.

                      Yes it does. Why do you think it doesn't?

                      What exactly is the process for buying apps on the market place anyway?

                      Very similar to itunes.

                  • by Per Wigren (5315)
                    When I got my Kindle it was pre-registered to my Amazon account and it had a personal welcome message pre-installed on it. That's pretty scary actually, but very user friendly.
            • I signed up without a credit card... it was a small link somewhere on the sign-up page to bypass entering one. This was a couple of years ago though, it might have changed.

        • Excuse me, but last time I checked the android market did NOT require me to enter my private information, much less my CREDIT CARD info just for going into the market or downloading free apps.

          The phone company has your "private information" already, including your credit card. You provided it when you bought or activated the phone. Entering it a second time for iTunes is arguably redundant but by no means should you think you are anonymous with Android.

          Android is overtaking all other mobile OSs for a reason.

          That reason Android is doing well is that it's a pretty good OS and the other carriers and phone manufacturers need something to compete with the iPhone. The carriers aren't stupid - they aren't about to put all their eggs in Apple's basket. M

          • by Superken7 (893292)

            You are right. Where did i mention anyyhing about anonymity? That was not the point at all.

            Fact is, when comparing google to apple regarding app stores, i dont have to enter my cc info for browsing the android market or dling free apps.

            Of course most users dont care about dev phones! Fact is, you can get phones with out of the box unlocked bootloaders. Not with iphones. Its just an example. Parent mentioned fighting locked bootloaders.
            Was just trying to make a point how google is not as mad as apple about t

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Explain to me how this is different on the Droid X or G2?

        WIth android you can buy a different phone. If you don't want to fuck around with anti-tampers and locked boot loaders, buy a Nexus One (or soon a Nexus S). If you want to use iOS but are not happy with the restrictions on the iPhone, what other choices do you have? Zilch. Thanks but no thanks, I'll take Google's approach any day.

        • by GweeDo (127172)

          Zilch? Please use nil.

        • Right - so if I don't want to fuck around with anti-tampers and locked boot loaders, this is all I have to do to root my Nexus One:

          1. - Install the Android SDK
          2. - Power on the device whilst holding the trackball to enter bootloader mode and connect your phone to the computer
          3. - Download and extract fastboot from here (Windows, Linux and Mac included)
          4. - Windows: from the sdk tools folder, copy "adb.exe", "AdbWinApi.dll" and "ddms.bat" to the fastboot folder
          5. - Run a command prompt / terminal at the fastboot direc
    • I can. What I can't believe is that apple phones aren't required equipment in S&M parlors yet.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ColdWetDog (752185)

        I can. What I can't believe is that apple phones aren't required equipment in S&M parlors yet.

        It's the crappy battery technology. A few shocks and that's the end of the iSM session until recharge.

        And I don't think they work well with the leather gloves.

        These, of course, are just uneducated guesses. No firsthand knowledge at all.

      • So much win.

    • by bennomatic (691188) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @08:24PM (#34250168) Homepage
      About 30% of that is wrong, another 30% of it is certainly nowhere near Apple-specific. The remaining amount may be correct, but is presented in a black-and-white manner without context that clearly indicates your bias and unwillingness to consider any viewpoints other than your own.

      What I'm getting at here is that the arguments against the Apple walled garden have been hashed and re-hashed uncountable times, and the responses have been made, often in an equally zealous and unproductive manner. If you still don't understand that other people have perfectly valid preferences which don't agree with your own, that is your own failing not anybody else's. To imply that someone is faulty just because they don't agree with you is disingenuous at best.
      • by geekoid (135745)

        I didn't see anything that as incorrect. Anyways, the poster is just puzzled on why someone would choose to pay so much to be so restricted.

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      I hear that! I've been using Google Voice all year long from the iPod Touch-me-in-the-bad-place, via the little Safari Browserlet and it works great. Apple is a fucked in the head as the CEO of Oracle, which indeed stands for One Raging Asshole Called Larry Ellison, but I digress... I've smelled the bad Apple coming and glad I got a first gen iTouch, as the App Store BLOWS as does the performance if you're stupid enough to listen to an MP3 while trying to do anything else. Couple that with an INCONCEIVAB

    • by Trolan (42526) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @08:30PM (#34250200) Homepage

      Apple is clearly abusing its users: If you buy one of my outrageously overpriced devices, you will only be able to login as an unprivileged user, we reserve the right to login as administrators.

      I hope you're not trying to compare to Android, since the above could easily apply there too under most carriers.

      You will be able to install applications, but only if we approve them first. We decide what apps you get and what apps you don't arbitrarily, and you have no part in that process.

      App store policies are now published, and they've been following them pretty well it seems, based on the types of apps which had been in limbo, and have since been approved post-policy posting. Google Voice was also pulled by Google post-publishing of those guidelines, since they wanted to update it, which they did, and it was approved.

      If you want to install an app, first you need to sign up in our store, give us all of your personal information, and you will have to give us your credit card. We are the only providers, we are a monopoly, you can't buy apps from anywhere else.

      Aside from the "no other store" it's not much different than any other purchase you make online.

      Also, we'll keep 30% of what you pay for any app. We will restrict what apps you can use based on where you are, who you are, or other parameters we can arbitrarily choose later. We will actively discriminate our users. Also, your device has a kill switch, and we disable it any time we want.

      30% is light for distribution costs compared to anything you find in the brick & mortar world. It's also something that is more of a developer concern than an end-user. Once you have an app installed, you can use it. Any regional restrictions on app store visibility would be up to the developer. There may be rules in place that the app developer had to abide with to get the app approved, such as the earlier VoIP over Wifi only restriction, which has since been lifted. The Kill Switch exists on most of the other smartphones as well. Apple has yet to use theirs. The only known use of any kill switch on an iOS device so far has been the remote bricking of the prototype iPhone 4. They've never killed an app, even ones which got approved and were in violation of app store rules.

      We also control what songs, music or other content you download, and deliberately add restrictions to those files, so they are ours, not yours.

      You can download and put whatever you want in media on your phone/iPod/iPad. If you want to buy it from online, you have the option of using iTunes... which has no DRM on the music files. You can also get your music from anywhere else, and copy it onto your iOS device as mp3, aac, etc. Video files still have DRM, but you'll get that with pretty much any paid video download (Hulu, Netflix, etc.)

      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        If you want to install an app, first you need to sign up in our store, give us all of your personal information, and you will have to give us your credit card. We are the only providers, we are a monopoly, you can't buy apps from anywhere else.

        Aside from the "no other store" it's not much different than any other purchase you make online.

        I believe the OP was talking about free apps. There's not many places other than Apple's store that require you to put in your credit card number to download a free app. Android marketplace certainly doesn't.

      • by cgenman (325138) on Wednesday November 17, 2010 @01:54AM (#34251854) Homepage

        Aside from the "no other store" it's not much different than any other purchase you make online.

        Except he's not talking about purchases. He's talking about installing software. If I need a backup software solution, I google around for a while, find some recommendations, compare some features, then go to the site of the person who makes what I want to try. Half of the time they're free, so I just install and try it out. Otherwise they likely have a demo to go for 30 days, or THEN I'll pull out a credit card and give cash. Really, the app store is like walking into Best Buy and purchasing something, whereas the way people get software has changed significantly since then.

        There may be rules in place that the app developer had to abide with to get the app approved, such as the earlier VoIP over Wifi only restriction, which has since been lifted.

        There is something like 30 restrictions, which change about 4 times per year. And what defines each restriction shifts constantly. You're not allowed to have porn, for example. Which Apple at times has used to ban end-user generated photo sharing apps and apps with entirely clothed women, but APPROVED a PLAYBOY app. You're not allowed to have parodies that include real people. Obama on a trampoline. You're not allowed to use any API's that are "unpublished." For a while they allowed wifi-sniffing and network tools apps, and recently reversed that and banned them all. They ban anything they consider distasteful or crass or pointless, yet they keep millions of fart apps up on the store. They've stuck good developers in limbo for years over random apps. And if anything the year-and-a-half ordeal with Google Voice has shown, they or their partners are not above creating new rules if they feel threatened. A video streaming app, for example, was rejected early on for using too much bandwidth, even though that was never a stated prerequisite.

        And while it is great that they've finally officially published standards two months ago, that is yet another revision of the rules, which they've been revising constantly and turned the iPhone into a moving target. I had a few useful but easy to write apps that I wanted to write in Flash CS5's export function, for example, shortly before they banned it. Now that it is unbanned and no-longer supported by Adobe, I can't imagine I'll bother.

        You can download and put whatever you want in media on your phone/iPod/iPad.

        As long as that media isn't a flash game, or other game. Or requires plug-ins, such as Ogg Vorbis or Monkey Audio. Or, for that matter, video that hasn't been munged to Apple's specific format.

        I'm on my second iPhone, and am eyeing an iPad. I love Apple's user interface designers, and feel that they deserve tremendous amounts of credit for pulling the US out of the Nokia-dominated dark ages of candybar phones and being tethered to our desks. But they need to open the platform. While I may not care for porn apps, they banned a good number of network tools that would genuinely help me in my daily life. And keeping Google Voice off their phone for a year and a half for no damned reason is just infuriating. They need to start treating their users like adults, or they risk losing us to Android.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ronocdh (906309)

      Apple is clearly abusing its users: If you buy one of my outrageously overpriced devices, you will only be able to login as an unprivileged user, we reserve the right to login as administrators.

      Isn't this precisely what a security or network consulting firm would do? Company X pays the company $y per year to take care of all connection-related issues, and even information management. What Apple has done is bring this to the individual consumer, rather than just corporate clients. What's so bad about that?

      Just playing devil's advocate here; I'm the proud owner of a Nexus One myself, but I also work in IT.

    • by sjbe (173966) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @09:54PM (#34250784)

      We decide what apps you get and what apps you don't arbitrarily, and you have no part in that process.

      They don't control this for one very simple reason. Users can always choose to not use an iPhone. If an application is needed/wanted that is not on an iPhone then don't use an iPhone. If you don't like Apple's policies then don't use an iPhone. If you think Steve Jobs is a whiny git and don't like black turtlenecks with jeans, then don't use an iPhone. There are plenty of other options out there. Pick one and enjoy it.

      It seems to have eluded you that lots of bright and well informed people don't actually care about any of those things that seem to bother you so much. There are upsides to every one of those downsides you mentioned. Making administrative access available to most users is a serious security risk (see Microsoft Windows). Having a central body approving/rejecting apps also has the upside of keeping poor quality apps and malware off the machine. If you want to buy anything online you have to give personal information if you use a credit card. Having Apple as the only provider of apps also means that getting apps is a simpler process. If you can find a distribution channel for software with the reach of iTunes that costs less than 30% of revenue you should damn well take advantage of it. Etc, etc, etc.

      Yes, all your points are legitimate criticisms of Apple and their products but you are only telling half the story. Look at the pros and cons and see if a given device makes sense for you. If you don't think the iPhone suits your particular needs/desires then buy something else and quit whining about it. I'm plenty smart enough to decide for myself whether I want to deal with Apple and AT&T. It's a contract we enter (or don't) willingly. It's only abuse if it's something we genuinely need and we have no alternatives or are misled somehow. You're assumption that all iPhone users are naive/stupid/abused simply is both arrogant and condescending.

      If you ever try, there are very high chances that our countermeasures will work and your device will become useless. We won't help you.

      Why would any company support software that they didn't write and which has the potential to cause them (and AT&T) real headaches and real costs? Would you seriously expect Microsoft to support linux? If you want to jailbreak you iPhone, go ahead. I've certainly got no problem with you doing so and actually think it's pretty cool. But expecting Apple to support your hacking is delusional.

    • by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @10:41PM (#34251048)

      Does it bother you that you aren't allowed to log in as root on your dishwasher?
      How about your car's engine controller?
      How about your pocket calculator?
      How about your TV set?
      How about your PC monitor? No, not the PC itself, the monitor's menu controller?
      How about your A/V receiver?
      How about the digital photo frame you gave your mom last Christmas?
      How about the GPS unit in your car?
      How about the oscilloscope your technicians use at work?
      How about the treadmill at your gym?

      No?

      Then what in the world is such a big deal about a stupid cell phone? If it does what you want and you can afford it, buy it. If not, buy something else, or nothing at all. Computers are appliances now, and vice versa. Deal with it and get over it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by gmhowell (26755)

        Slashdot poster using a treadmill? That's cute.

      • by Stooshie (993666)
        You are obviously not a regular Slashdot user. You talk sense. Don't worry, you'll learn!
      • by chrb (1083577)

        Does it bother you that you aren't allowed to log in as root on your dishwasher?

        Oh, but I am. I own my dishwasher - I can do whatever I want to it. There is no end user license agreement. I can write my own roms and I doubt anyone will ever care.

        I can do the same with all of the other examples you list. The manufacturers of my TV set don't include an EULA telling me that I can't modify it. They don't tell me that I would be breaking the law if I tried.

        This is the complete opposite of Apple's position - that it is illegal to modify the software on an iPhone [wired.com]

      • by ibwolf (126465)

        Then what in the world is such a big deal about a stupid cell phone? If it does what you want and you can afford it, buy it.

        That is exactly it, the iPhone isn't a cell phone! It is an ultra portable computer that just happens to also place voice calls.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by CompMD (522020)

        "How about the GPS unit in your car?"

        I can log in as root to the GPS I have in my car. Then again, I wrote a bunch of the software for it for my job...at a company that makes GPSs for cars...

  • An interesting use for the app would be to use it as a dialing front end on an iPod touch in concert with a VOIP service

    Or, you know, an actual phone. (Yes, I realize VoIP could make it more seamless.) There's no reason it shouldn't be availabe for all iOS devices. In fact, I'm surprised it's available only on iPhone, of all the iOS devices--seems like that's where they (well, AT&T, at least) have the most to lose...although I guess you could say the same if it was availalbe for everything else and nobody bought an iPhone for that reason.

  • What's the big deal? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by knapkin (665863)
    So I have to be honest, I was just as happy with my google voice account (maybe more so, but time will tell) when I could not use it on my iphone. Now you might be asking why, and maybe my use case is not common, but google voice fills a nice roll in my life. 1) Random people at bars get google voice # 2) Companies that require a phone number get google voice # Pretty much my google voice number is like my spam e-mail account. If you got this number, well good luck getting a return call. The ability
  • I tried it out, but I can't get it to work properly like GV Mobile+, GV Connect, or even the Google Voice Webapp.

    In the settings under the "This Phone" setting, I set a custom number for it to ring. However, when I make a call from the app, it just dials some weird number outbound of the regular iPhone phone app. I don't want it to use my iPhones number and minutes... I want it to use my Gizmo5 number like I can do with GV Mobile+, GV Connect and even the Google Voice Webapp.

    Get it working Google!

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