As the developer of Phone Amego which provides Mac telephone integration,
I was rather surprised by Apple’s announcement since they abandoned telephone integration once before and seemed uninterested in my pleas for help. In Mac OS X Tiger, Apple's Address Book had the ability to connect with a Bluetooth phone to provide two rather nice features:
• It could display caller ID information for incoming calls and bring up the corresponding Address Book entry if any.
• It could dial out by right clicking on a phone number entry and selecting "dial using name-of-device" from the contextual menu.
In Mac OS X Leopard, these features disappeared from Address Book with nary a trace. As for my reaction: I’m glad to see Apple is finally building the solution customers want. I understand Apple will be using WiFi instead of Bluetooth to achieve house-wide reliability. I also expect it will be iPhone only and they’ll leave Call Logging and CRM integration as 3rd party opportunities.
It's interesting that Apple choose WiFi over Bluetooth to achieve a no fuss solution. It certainly speaks to the complexity and lack of reliability I've had to deal with. It's also a solution only Apple could build since other developers don't have access to the phone application running on iPhone.
It’s early to tell, but I believe this could be good for Phone Amego as a “Lite" version that introduces more people to the technology. As users discover they want CRM integration or support for other phones, Phone Amego will be an obvious compliment to Apple's built-in solution. One of my marketing challenges has been to explain what Phone Amego does. Now that Apple has endorsed the concept, this will be easier.
To compete with free, Phone Amego needs to be much better and aimed at users who need more than Apple’s built-in solution. I welcome the challenge and hope to learn from Apple's approach.