It finally happened. FaceTime had arrived for the Mac. FaceTime was a feature that was first introduced on the new iPhone 4. At the time no one saw it coming and it was a welcome addition. As it became more and more popular it was added to the iPod Touch and finally yesterday in Apple’s secret fashion, they announced it for the Mac. As I got to watch the keynote of Steve Jobs talking about a new OS X and the new Macbook Air, I definitely didn’t see this coming and I don’t think many people did.
For those of you that don’t know what FaceTime is, it is basically Apple’s video chat service that they introduced for their mobile devices. At the time the service was only available to those that had an iPhone 4 or a new iPod Touch. But now as long as you have a Mac you can now video chat with other people with Macs, iPhone 4’s and the new iPod Touch. The other nice thing is that Apple made it free and it is available for download right now.
The setup is pretty easy. After you download the app, when you first run it, you will be asked to input your Apple ID and password. Then, all the contacts in your Address Book will show up. You can now FaceTime with anyone that you know of that has FaceTime on their Mac or mobile device. If you are going to FaceTime someone on their mobile device you have to call their phone number. If you want to FaceTime with someone on their Mac, you need to make sure you have their email address that they use for their Apple ID. The reason for this is that when you try to FaceTime someone on their Mac, you will select their email. The same goes for the iPod Touch. Probably the coolest feature of FaceTime for Mac is that the app doesn’t have to be open at all and if someone tries to FaceTime you on your Mac, the app will open automatically and it will let you know that you are receiving a FaceTime call from someone. That is nice feature to have.
As always FaceTime is never without its downfalls. You can only FaceTime on a mobile device if you are on WIFI. So if you are on your Mac and you want to FaceTime someone on their iPhone 4, you need to make sure they are on WIFI, otherwise they won’t get the call. I wish there was a way to see if someone was on WIFI or not before you tried to FaceTime them. The other question here is, will FaceTime replace iChat? To me, I don’t see why it wouldn’t. It basically does the same thing and more. The quality on FaceTime is pretty good, comparable to Skype at least. Speaking of Skype, would love to see FaceTime and Skype play nice somehow, that way you can video conference with people who have Skype and not FaceTime. I doubt that will ever happen, but it would be nice.
I firmly believe that this is going to be the future and really when you think about it, if more people would adopt this technology, how much money we could save on cell phone minutes. But, that is a blog post for another time. So have any of you downloaded FaceTime yet? What are your thoughts?