The iPhone 4 is here, but is Apple running out of ideas?

Licensing names FaceTime and iOS from other vendors to complete its iPhone 4 package

As a non-iPhone user, the first things that oddly caught my attention when reading through the Apple press release on its new iPhone 4 were that the product features FaceTime and IOS technology.

Whoa, whoa, whoa..

Doesn't Cisco own the name IOS, which describes the software at the heart of its routers? And isn't FaceTime the name of a company that helps customers secure and manage their unified communications environments?

Well, yes and yes, sort of.

Cisco, it turns out, is licensing the IOS (or iOS) brand to Apple, which is renaming its operating system from plain old OS 4 to iOS 4. This shows a more cordial relationship between Apple and Cisco, whose history includes a spat over the iPhone name itself a few years back. A sign that the companies had patched things up was also that iPhone OS 4, as it was initially introduced, included SSL VPN support from Cisco.

As for FaceTime, that's Apple's name for the technology "which makes the dream of video calling a reality." It turns out that the Belmont, Calif., company called FaceTime, which was founded in 1998, is soon going to be changing its name to "better reflect our capabilities," according to a company spokesman. Naturally, the companies are mum on how much Apple paid FaceTime for the privilege (apparently, this is purely a trademark deal, and doesn't involve FaceTime technology from the smaller company).

It seems that Apple, not surprisingly, put a lot of thought into not just the components of iPhone 4, but into the name of the product itself. While much speculation had the phone being called iPhone 4G, Apple went with the simpler iPhone 4, perhaps in recognition that the smartphone wouldnt be running on an actual 4G network for a while. The iPhone 4 will run on AT&T's 3G network at least for now.

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