Matthew Panzarino speculates on a possible “VoiceTime” feature in the future:
But the fact is that the voice technology used by most cell phone carriers hasn’t received much attention, as the concentration has been on building out data networks and coverage areas.
So now is the time for someone to improve the voice quality of our phones, and cut one more cord away while they’re at it.
This is a great idea.
Cellular voice transmission, like satellite radio and digital cable TV, lives in the sad world of extreme bandwidth conservation: it’s compressed, processed, and crushed down to the minimum quality threshold that customers will tolerate. (And then they crush it a little bit more, because what are you going to do about it, really?)
As we see with FaceTime, the iPhone’s hardware is capable of much higher audio quality if the bandwidth is available.
A theoretical “VoiceTime” feature implemented like FaceTime — a separate type of call that people must select each time — would be interesting.
But an implementation like iMessage, where it could switch over automatically whenever both ends of a call are compatible, and we’d all just start using fewer voice minutes… that would be the kind of ballsy move that I hope the post-Steve Apple keeps making.