As Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert so astutely noted, "If you've got an iPhone already, a lot of [the iPad] will be very familiar to you. The same touch screen technology. The same apps. And just like the iPhone, you can't make calls with it."
Ha! Actually, scratch that last part.
This week, a company called Truphone has released an iPad app which essentially allows iPad owners to wield their gadget like a giant iPhone. Some background: Truphone is a VoiP application. Like Skype, it harnesses the power of the Web to bypass traditional phone lines.
According to Truphone, all calls to other Truphone, Skype, or Google Talk users are free; you pay a "really, really low" rate to call a landline or mobile phone – five cents per minute in the US, less if you sign up for a monthly plan. The iPad edition of Truphone – the app is also available on the iPhone – uses the built-in speaker and mic on the iPad to relay calls.
So far, so good.
But let's face it, folks: using the Apple iPad like an Apple iPhone is bound to look really, really silly. The tablet device, for one, measures some 9 inches by 7 inches. It's big, it's heavy, and no one wants to hold that thing up to their head. Over at TechCrunch, John Biggs films himself using the Truphone, and admits that it all makes for "the most ridiculous talking experience you’ve ever seen."
Click on the video and see for yourself. Or check out some of our prior stories about VoIP apps on Apple devices. Late last month, for instance, Line2 was yanked from the iTunes store after a hacker attack. And before that, Apple and Google scuffled over Google Voice.