Update: Confirmed – the new iPhone has a front facing camera!

Updated: Wrote this post last year before the iPhone 3GS launch, obviously that version didn’t have video calling or mobile tv as its core features but could that change this year? I was a thinking a bit too far ahead last year but now it seems other blogs are mentioning the same thing.

Rumours (and screenshots) are flying round featuring a front facing iPhone camera…9to5Mac has a post with all the theories. Remember the iPhone can’t save video calling on its own, operators will need to create unlimited bundles with standard tariffs otherwise it’s not going to be able to sustain the initial uplift. Maybe this is the kick start video calling needs to begin lowering prices?

Check out the new image and original post below:

The New iPhone 2009 The new iPhone is due to be announced soon and I have the feeling that it’s about to change the way people use (and perceive) Video Calling and mobile TV. The two services desperately need a jump start and have been poorly received by consumers for years.

As a consumer I know that Mobile TV is very appealing, I can’t tell you the amount of times I have been out and wanted to catch the football or a episode of Californication. Even at my desk, I can’t be bothered to keep turning my head to watch the plasma and would gladly have a phone in front of me with the TV on. The proposition isn’t hard for the consumer to understand, it’s TV that you love and know…on your phone. Simple.

However the price has always been far too high , I’ve found that most people don’t know that their operator offers TV and the ones that do think it’s too expensive to take up. Currently the price sits at around £3 per month on Vodafone to £8.99 per month on Orange…That’s 35% of my line rental!

Video Calling is just as expensive, on Orange it costs 50p per minute to call someone on another network. Video Calling is a service I would dip in and out of but why would I ever bother at those prices? I know many things have been listed on why video calling isn’t popular, everything from unflattering camera angles to human nature but lets face it, cost is usually king and if it was free people would use it more. Plus video calling is aching for a sprinkling of decent Apple-style user experience.

Apple certainly has the power to tell networks that it wants consumers to be given unlimited video calling and Mobile TV tariffs with new iPhones. It’s my belief  that when you take cost concerns out of the equation you can instantly change user behavior, that coupled with Apple user interface expertise could completely set a new standard for Mobile TV and Video Calling.

So would operators offer Mobile TV for free? Well we know that operators bend over backwards for Apple and news about the upgrades currently being done by networks is surfacing.

I once worked on a project which looked at inserting video ads inbetween Mobile TV programs which were different from what was being broadcast on actual TV. This meant that the ads could be more relevant for the mobile device and even use location. The ads can have mobile call to actions and click throughs which you can’t obviously do on a normal TV. Video ads generate a higher CPM than graphic and text ads so this could be the swaying point for operators.

Lets wait and see if Mobile TV and Video Calling appear on the new iPhone.