Now that the Apple iPad is out of the bag and starting to arrive in homes everywhere, all sorts of embargoed information are coming out. Not only will the device transform the publishing and portable computing markets, but evidently Big Telephony and other major UC vendors have reached an agreement to standardize on the iPad device platform. Yes, we’re talking about Alcatel-Lucent/Genesys, Aspect, Avaya, Cisco, Microsoft, Mitel, NEC, Siemens, and several others. Apparently Apple CEO Steve Jobs had an interest in not just communications, but unified communications, since a long time ago, but had thought the technology was far from mature. The iPhone was really a stepping stone and learning lesson in how to partner with global communications providers. But now with the trend towards multimedia, SIP, and UC, Apple is ready to make the leap in furthering the reach of its red hot iPad tablet.
Perhaps this is a blessing to the competitive and sometimes hostile UC landscape. Jobs realized how UC technologies were fragmented and lack interoperability (and to his dismay, filled with “fugly devices”), and had the pull to bring top executives from each vendor to the same table in Cupertino to work out an all around win-win deal. It took months and countless stealth meetings — even when VoiceCon Orlando was just around the corner. Apple advised the executives not to leak this under any circumstance, especially when they were all to be present in Orlando. “Pretend that you hate each other,” was Jobs’ suggestion, according to an unnamed source at these secret meetings. Surprisingly, the deal remained a secret until now.
What these vendors have agreed on is to develop their products — PBXs, IVRs, UC servers, SIP phones, SBCs, etc. — to run on the iPad exclusively. Supposedly Avaya, Cisco, and Microsoft engineers, with the help of Apple, have already developed a few proof-of-concepts in Apple’s labs. The iPad multi-touch interface should prove to be a hit… Imagine performing MAC (that’s “moves/adds/changes”) on the PBX by tapping and dragging extensions. Or enabling presence using the built-in geolocation service (either Wi-Fi or 3G). Or dialing using the on-screen soft buttons on an iPad SIP phone. Or configuring the SBC with gestures to establish trunks. And of course, all of these tasks could be performed in either portrait or landscape mode! The possibilities are endless — only limited by the developer’s creativity…
Initially there were concerns about the iPad’s horsepower — can it really handle SIP and VoIP without sacrificing usability and stability? Apple assured the vendors that there won’t be a problem, and if so he would gladly provide more iPads (at a discount, of course) to form some sort of undocumented cluster architecture commonly seen in database design. No wonder there’s a shortage of supply, right?
Official press release below:
CUPERTINO, California—April 1, 2010—Apple’s magical new iPad will be available in all 221 US Apple® retail stores and most Best Buy stores this Saturday, April 3, beginning at 9 a.m. Starting at just $499, iPad lets users browse the web, read and send email, enjoy and share photos, watch HD videos, listen to music, play games, read ebooks and much more, all using iPad’s revolutionary Multi-Touch™ user interface. iPad is just 0.5 inches thick and weighs just 1.5 pounds—thinner and lighter than any laptop or netbook—and delivers up to 10 hours of battery life.*
“iPad connects users with their apps and content in a far more intimate and fun way than ever before,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We can’t wait for users to get their hands and fingers on it this weekend.”
Apple retail stores will offer a free Personal Setup service to every customer who buys an iPad at the store, helping them customize their new iPad by setting up their email, loading their favorite apps from the App Store, and more. Also beginning Saturday morning, all US Apple retail stores will host special iPad workshops to help customers learn more about this magical new product.
“But there’s one more thing…”
Apple is pleased to announce major strategic partnerships with Unified Communications (UC) vendors, including Alcatel-Lucent, Aspect, Avaya, Cisco, Microsoft, Mitel, NEC, Siemens, and others, to offer a unified platform for UC products and SIP interoperability. Soon not only will a user read books and play games on iPad, but also operate it as an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, Public Branch Exchange (PBX), Session Border Controller (SBC), and more. More importantly, iPad will become the UC industry standard platform, eliminating the fragmentation and lack of interoperability among these vendors’ products.
Apple expects most of these UC and SIP iPad applications to be ready by third quarter of 2010.
Pricing & Availability
iPad will be available in Wi-Fi models on April 3 in the US for a suggested retail price of $499 for 16GB, $599 for 32GB, and $699 for 64GB. The Wi-Fi + 3G models will be available in late April for a suggested retail price of $629 for 16GB, $729 for 32GB and $829 for 64GB. iPad will be sold in the US through the Apple Store® (www.apple.com), Apple’s retail stores, most Best Buy stores, select Apple Authorized Resellers and campus bookstores. The iBooks app for iPad including Apple’s iBookstore will be available as a free download from the App Store in the US on April 3.
*Battery life depends on device settings, usage and other factors. Actual results vary.
Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning computers, OS X operating system and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading the digital media revolution with its iPod portable music and video players and iTunes online store, and has entered the mobile phone market with its revolutionary iPhone.
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