Alex Salkever posits With iChat, Who Needs a Phone? in his latest Byte of the Apple column for BusinessWeek Online. Salkever doesn't think that iChat AV will replace the phone specifically, but talks in broad strokes about voice and video teleconferencing over the Internet in general.
Salkever waxes rhapsodic about recent offerings from Apple like the iTunes Music Store and iChat AV. iChat AV, released as a public beta during last month's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), offers video and audio teleconferencing to users with FireWire-based digital video Webcams. In fact, Apple has released its own FireWire-based Webcam called the iSight, and has been selling them briskly since iChat AV's release, by many anecdotal accounts.
Salkever said that iChat AV "has several insanely great things going for it," including relatively painless installation, easy operation, and good coexistence with other applications. Salkever imagines an Internet populated by users of iChat AV and similar services chatting with each other via cordless headsets. "... it's not so farfetched to imagine that the various IM systems from America Online, Microsoft and Yahoo!, among others, will quickly morph into major competitors against the lumbering telecoms," Salkever said.
News source: MacCentral