Back to the Mac: FaceTime on the Mac

FaceTime for Mac Logo

It’s one of the things we predicted last week, and something everybody has been clamoring for: FaceTime for Mac. It was just announced at Apple’s Back to the Mac event, and luckily, we won’t even have to wait for 10.7 to arrive next summer to get it.

Jobs started the announcement of the feature by talking about the number of users who already have a FaceTime enabled device: already 19 million since debut of the iPhone 4, the first with the feature, four months ago.

He then went on to demo the new Mac application. Note that this isn’t built into iChat; it’s a standalone app. Sitting down at the demo Mac, he fired up the program and initiated a FaceTime call to Phil Schiller. During this call, he demonstrated a couple of great features.

First was how easy it is to start a call: just click the name of the contact you want to call. It draws from your Address Book, so you shouldn’t have to add new contacts if that’s up-to-date. Also, if your recipient is on an iPhone 4 or a new FaceTime-enabled iPod touch, and they re-orient their device, the window on your Mac turns to keep the view consistent.

There’s a beta of FaceTime for Mac available for free today, ready to download from the Apple website. This is a nice step forward for the video calling service from Apple.

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