The only real difference between an iPhone and an iPod Touch is the fact that you can send and receive calls and SMS with only the iPhone. While there’s no true comparison to the iPhone, a new app brings the iPod Touch as close to being an iPhone as possible- making it capable of calls and even SMS.
The new app from Jajah uses VOIP-based technology to enable the iPod Touch to make and receive calls via a Wi-Fi connection, and will even allow SMS via VOIP as well. The idea itself is nothing new, as an app from Truphone has already been available since last year, but Jajah’s version goes a few steps further to allow the user to either place a free call to other Jajah users, or call landline or mobile users at heavily discounted rates- including internationally to 200 countries. The only addition to your iPod Touch you’ll need is a headset, which are abundantly available, even from Apple.
So far the app isn’t available via the App Store, but should be in the near future. In addition, Jajah has additional plans to offer the app as sort of a “white label” application which it could re-skin and re-configure for third-party carriers. While it’s vague as to what could be done using this type of app on carriers other than AT&T, it’s pretty apparent it’s an attempt to make the iPod Touch the iPhone for other carriers besides AT&T. Even without cell signal capabilities, the app running on an iPod Touch could somehow correlate to the wireless company’s network- in effect giving you an iPhone-like device that could be used on any carrier’s data network, even SMS functionality.
This raises the question, once again, as to whether or not Apple will allow these types of apps to continue to operate. Truphone’s application has been left alone for almost a year now, so it’s a good sign that Apple will look the other way. Since VOIP is being used, and it’s only available via Wi-Fi, Apple doesn’t think it will effect the need for the iPhone, since 3G is far more pervasive than Wi-Fi. Still, by Jajah introducing the app for third-party carriers, it will make Apple look twice at the whole situation, and raise the possibility again of banning the whole idea.
While there’s nothing like the true functionality of the iPhone, an iPod Touch sporting the Jajah application is almost the exact same thing. Both share the same sleek form-factor, the same sleek UI, the same App Store and subsequent applications, and now calling and SMS functionality as well. When you think about it, the iPod Touch offers greater capacity, a slimmer size, and a cheaper price tag as well.