The significance of FaceTime…

iOS 4.1 beta 3 features: FaceTime connections via Email | TiPb.

Of all the features that the iPhone 4 and it’s corresponding iOS 4 has, FaceTime seems the most misunderstood.

Leo Laporte (there’s that name again), has dismissed as (and I’m paraphrasing here), ‘the most pointless feature of the new iPhone’.

Not surprisingly, he misses the point and because he’s distracted by Google’s shiny offerings and because, well, he does absolutely no research for his shows.

The principle behind FaceTime, and on the surface one of it’s shortcomings, is the fact that it runs only on wifi, 3g is not allowed. 

This has caused howls of bad press and is one of the reasons why the current jailbreak is so popular – there’s an app that allows FaceTime over 3g.

Under the encouragement of pundits such as Leo, many people will jailbreak and install this app – and then complain loudly when their phone bills come through – it uses 3mb a minute in data.

The quality through 3g is terrible as well, and this coupled with the AT&T’s lacklustre network, has meant that FaceTime is wifi only – for now.

However the killer feature with FaceTime is it’s seamless, there’s no configuration. Once you have established a FaceTime call, the phone remembers the setup, and it’s this design that leads us to the next upgrade to FaceTime.

In the next iOS release, you’ll be able to FaceTime with anyone with an email address.

Think about that – Apple have just created a flawless, simple to use, auto-setup video conferencing, video (and audio) phone system and you don’t even need a phone contract, just an available wifi hotspot. There’s nothing to stop an iPod Touch, and iPad or even a Mac from communicating visually.

With Apple releasing it as an open standard, you can see where this is going.

Can we just give credit where credit is due? Only Apple, with their end-to-end solution could have done this.

I doubt that this will have any impact on Leo however, he just doesn’t seem to grasp the magnitude of this. When he does, expect him to laud praise on Apple yet again.


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