Facetime, Apple’s new iPhone 4 to iPhone 4 video chat application got a bit of an update on Tuesday of this week.
Jobs said it himself, the biggest thing that people wanted when facetime was shown on the iPhone for the first time was the integration of the system into the Mac desktop. I talked about this back on this original post when the iPhone 4 came out. Finally, at Tuesday’s speech Jobs and Apple rolled out the Facetime client for the desktop.
You can call Mac to Mac using Facetime, you can also call Mac to iPhone or iPhone to Mac, likewise with the iPod Touch. The resolution is good (it’s scaled down a bit if you are used to iChat’s resolution), audio is excellent, and it works flawlessly. In fact, when it came out, I was on a hotel network. I tried to initiate an iChat connection to my Dad, and we couldn’t do it for lack of bandwidth, however, Facetime connected right away without a problem.
The only thing that I thought was a bit strange, and I know I'm not the only one, was that Apple released it as a separate application for the Mac.
However, after I thought about it for a bit, I came back to my original conclusion that this is a temporary step. The application is simple and easy to write, so that’s what Apple did. I imagine in order to build the feature into iChat, they'd have to rewrite the whole application, and while they didn’t at all indicate that this was going to happen in 10.7 Lion (which they also started talking about on Tuesday), it makes a lot of sense to have it built into the OS.
One of the other things that i noticed about facetime is that it doesn’t really give you any kind of “presence” notification. For instance, it would make sense that since Apple knows you are connected to the internet via $device, they would be able to provide some type of presence notification along with it, I assume this is going to come with 10.7 too.