Apple will soon have a whole bunch of new users for its FaceTime video chat application. At today’s “Back to the Mac” event, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that the company is making a beta version of FaceTime video chat available today from Apple.com.
Until now, FaceTime was available only on Apple’s iPhone 4 and its most recent iPod Touch, which both have front and rear-facing cameras. Jobs said that Apple has sold 19 million devices that support the mobile video chat application, which is pretty impressive, since it was only introduced in June. Even so, keeping FaceTime limited to just mobile users — and only mobile users with the most recent hardware, ignores the huge install base Apple already has built with its Macs.
“The Number 1 request we’ve gotten is to be able to do FaceTime calling with the Mac,” Jobs said. So Apple made the video chat application to all Mac users, with a beta version of the software available today on Apple.com.
The decision to unleash FaceTime for the Mac comes as a few competitors have rolled out their own applications that enable video chat across multiple platforms. Yahoo (s YHOO) recently made video calling available on the most recent version of its Yahoo Messenger application, which will enable iOS users to video chat with Yahoo Messenger users on their PCs.
And the consumer video chat market is heating up in the living room, with new services from Cisco (s CSCO), Logitech (s LOGI) and Skype that enable users to video chat from their TVs. Could the Apple TV be the next product to get FaceTime? Our readers sure hope so.
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