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Five Things – 16 June 2016


With iOS 10, Apple has made the phone carrier less necessary than ever

Apple desperately wants to wrest as much control of the iPhone from the phone carriers, and with iOS 10 it has taken another important step to making those network providers into dumb pipes.



Caught this after the initial news about WWDC. The way it’s going to function, I really like. I hope this functionality reaches the iPad, since I often use mine to make and receive calls.

But I moreso like the statement that this new functionality makes. Apple is turning their iPhone into a phone for all voice services, not just calls made over your provider’s “voice” network. If you want to use Facebook Messenger or perhaps, Viber, or some other 3rd party VoIP service, you can do that more or less the way you do now with “regular” calls over your provider’s “voice” network. Those services work now, but they’ll be more integrated into the usual ways calls are made and received.

VoIP used over data-only plans is the future. In a world where you’re Tweeting and Facebooking, watching video on YouTube or Vimeo, and perhaps FaceTiming or Duo-ing (I really am stopping here, I promise), privileging voice “minutes” will be a ridiculous and unacceptable way to pay for the usage of a smartphone (or tablet). Voice will be just another type of data that you’re consuming, not a separate and more important usage of your device.

I don’t expect the carriers to change overnight, but change they must. I imagine quite a few people my age and older (and perhaps some younger) consider the idea of paying for talking minutes to be perfectly reasonable, probably because we’ve done it for a long time and we’re used to it. Remember how we used to pay for long-distance calling? Do cell phone payment plans remind you of something?

However, much younger people (and older folks who have adapted) who have grown up on first, unlimited calling to cell phones (remember that, too?) and then, pretty much unlimited minutes to any phone, and then on top of that, all manner of video and voice chat over both cell phone data and Wi-Fi, don’t have any fond memories of opening up their telephone bill and flipping to the long distance section. Or of buying calling cards. They’ll probably consider the idea of buying a certain amount of voice minutes as ridiculous as I do now because they’re not spending most of their time talking on the phone as such. The data they use to post status updates and Snapchat is what they’ll be interested in. Cell carriers will have to adjust accordingly.

What Apple is doing now in iOS 10 is portending this future. Cell carriers will become data pipes, just like ISPs, which is probably why we see so many of them now jumping into the content generation business because soon, the real money and power will be in driving you towards their content, not just giving you the means to get online.

Even the idea of having a telephone number is becoming anachronistic to me. I was talking to a loved one a few weeks ago about giving up telephone numbers entirely. I don’t think telephone numbers will fully go away anytime soon. How will you be able to dial 9-1-1 and how will your older relatives who know dialing telephone but not using Hangouts get in contact with you? But folks of a certain age, who may or may not even use SMS, won’t give it much importance at some point. I hardly do. I just can’t get everybody to message me on Hangouts or iMessage. Which brings me to …


Seems I’m not the only one who wants iMessage on Android.

An Apple exec explains why it won’t happen. And not everyone else thinks it’s a good idea.

Apple makes a ton of money selling you hardware. And they make money selling you music subscriptions, but you can get that on Android (not that I want it, regardless of platform). The Wired article makes a business case for Apple to bring iMessage over to Android. Part of the argument is using iMessage as an enticement to come fully over to Apple. I’m not sure it would work that way –I hope it would– but I’m not sure.

I do have an alternate thought. Apple keeps iMessage inside of their walled garden. I’m sure they’d love for me to ditch my Android devices, Chromebook, and Windows laptop and gear out with a Macbook and iPhone. I might get a Macbook, but I’m never getting an iPhone as I hate them (for whatever reason). But I’m also not giving up my iPad. I’m a sort of inbetweener, platform agnostic.

I like to think of myself as a good case for iMessage on Android. Yes, I have an iPad and I would like to have one for the foreseeable future. I regularly communicate with folks in iMessage. But I don’t want to carry my iPad around everywhere. So it would be nice to be able to stay in communication in iMessage, regardless of which device I’m using. I know others who have just iPods and use those to iMessage and FaceTime their iPhone user friends and relatives, instead of being able to just pick up their Android phones. It seems like most of the people I know who don’t have iPhones or Macs but use iMessage still have some gateway device that’s brought them inside of Apple’s walled garden. Could Apple use iMessage on Android to keep you buying at least one Apple device even if you don’t want others? I don’t know. I just know they’re not thinking that way. They want you all the way in. And they’ve made billions doing that, so I don’t expect them to necessarily change.

Besides, with them now giving 3rd party apps the same sort of privileges of the phone dialer, I have to wonder how much longer messaging will be important to them in any way. Even as the messenger wars heat up. It’s hard to tell right now. But if Facebook can make the kind of money some think they might make being cross-platform, maybe that’s something that will change Apple’s mind.


I had to look up how to format a form/block letter. Might have been a brain fart, but I was drawing a blank. I should format email that way just to stay in practice. Writing formal letters might also be a fun writing exercise.


Tough news coming out of Flushing.

I’m still thinking about it and trying not to think that this is the end. If so, it makes losing last year’s World Series that much more painful. I’m sure I’ll have more to say on it later.

Ravens cut Eugene Monroe. Really welcome to Baltimore, Ronnie Stanley. You’re definitely starting.

Up off exit 16W (see, Jersey folks, I can speak your language a bit) in the swamp, Jerry Reese couldn’t see fit to do business with Ozzie and trade someone to get Monroe, so he just waited for the inevitable cut to go in and try to make a move. And that’s good for them. Their offensive line’s been trash, even if some of their fans take everything out on Eli. Two titles haven’t bought him the benefit of the doubt, unfortunately.

And the Giants are cool with Monroe’s weed advocacy. That’s always a plus. In New Jersey.

Back at Birdland, the O’s are still mashing dingers (baseball lingo). AJ had one tonight in Boston. It’s a good season to be an O’s fan again. My birthday gift to myself may be another O’s hat. Or perhaps this fine hat that also happens to have my initials as the logo.


Off to a writing conference next week. My regular blog topics, aside from Five Things, are on hold until I get back, but I will be blogging from there. I have to get up everyday at like 6:30AM, so there will definitely be something to write about.


It’s been a tough stretch of days in Orlando. Even if you’re not a praying person, please continue keeping a good thought out for that area. Same for the family of this little girl killed earlier, run over by a stolen car.