WWDC: Video Calling on iPhone 4 With FaceTime: Wi-Fi Only

21 Comments

We already knew that iPhone 4 would have a front-facing camera, but Steve Jobs waited until the end of his presentation to actually show it off. Using his traditional “one more thing” schtick, Jobs called Apple (s aapl) designer Jonathan Ives using FaceTime, a new software application for video calling on the handset. But first, Jobs asked the audience to turn off their Wi-Fi devices. Why? The new feature works between iPhone 4 devices and only over Wi-Fi, which is good and bad.

While bandwidth-intensive video won’t eat up cellular data plans since it uses Wi-Fi, this constraint does limit the potential locations to use FaceTime. Apple says it “needs to work with cellular providers” for video over 3G, but it had better hurry: More than 30 billion video calls are expected by 2015, according to our latest GigaOM Pro report (subscription required). Regardless of the connectivity challenge, Apple is making use of both cameras on the new iPhone 4 — users can show their face with the front camera or switch to the rear camera to show off the world around them.

21 Comments

Myra

My husband and I both have tried Facetime and so far it only works in OUR living room together. DOH!!

Dino

Goodness me! What’s all the hype about? Mobile video calling has been a reality for at least 8 years now. Only now Apple wakes up and smells the coffee and suddenly everyone is going crazy? Come on people. Video calling has been there for ages, and so have multitasking and most of the other features that Apple is only now discovering…

G Taylor

Your right video chat has been around for years, BUT it does not work well, never has. Unless you have some T1 connection at both ends it barely works. Enter Apple as always. Apple does not create the proverbial wheel, it makes it Work. Mp3 was around before apple made the ipod. Apple just made it easy to use. The same with the iphone, ipad, Mac computers, Video editing (Final Cut Pro) And while you pay more upfront for Apple hardware, they practically give there software away. And it great software. People keep trying to make Apple fit the mold they want. Apple has never and hopefully will never do that!! That is what makes them great!!

Anthony Anderson

The HTC EVO is The best. I Video call Anywhere!!!!!!

Mithat Alacahanlı

FaceTime is not a separate application which you have to log in. During a cellular call, you will see an option to start FaceTime, if both of you are on Wi-Fi networks. They are working on 3G network availability as well. This is a new standard for the regular paid phone calls, it’s not a free internet call like Skype or iChat, so you can’t connect to such programs. And since you don’t log in, you are always available for FaceTime as long as you are on a wi-fi network. We will see if there will be list of available FaceTime contacts or you will be able to see that only during the call itself…

Eric

Just since when did front facing camera and video calling become new again?!?! And just since when did video calling become limited to work on Wifi only?

Jane

I have to say make call with FaceTime is so cool!
Apple is amazing!
steve jobs! you are the man!!!
I’m still shocked at how much the ipad can do…and now this? how do you do it!
good job!
Before the new iPhone released, I have read many reviews about it, it totally stunned me, such as this “A Review of Apple iPhone 4” listed the most impressive features of it in ifunia iphone column.

lemon

I have to say make call with FaceTime is so cool!
Apple is amazing!
steve jobs! you are the man!!!
I’m still shocked at how much the ipad can do…and now this? how do you do it!
good job!
Before the new iPhone released, I have read many reviews about it, it totally stunned me, such as this “A Review of Apple iPhone 4” listed the most impressive features of it in ifunia iphone column.

Tim Hayward

There are a lot of unanswered questions around this capability – more so than for anything else announced today.

  1. How does this service work? How does my iPhone know which of my contacts are available to take a Facetime call and conversely how do my contacts know I am available?

  2. If the API is available for 3rd party apps, are they also limited to WiFi?

  3. How much data does it really use, i.e. how many MB per minute?

  4. Why can’t it connect to iChat?

Would love answers to these.

tim

PXLated

Surprised you weren’t a little more indepth — Apple does video chat right – Lots going on behind the scenes – http://bit.ly/ch4G3z – This is not your average (Skype) video chat.

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