A lot of people thought Apple’s October 20th event was kind of ho-hum, boring, but not me.
I was blown away by it.
The iLife upgrades are kinda cool, but the rest of the event was much more interesting.
Surprise! FaceTime is its own application, not built-in to iChat. FaceTime is currently iOS & OSX only, but remember, it’s BETA. When Apple says BETA, it means BETA. There are lots of Windows iPhone/iPad users out there. FaceTime for Windows will come along soon enough.
After using FaceTime for Mac over the past few days, I realized my Skype-FaceTime-integration prediction was dead wrong. Apple wants to kill Skype, not partner with them. Why would I say that? Because they see “buddy lists” with online/offline status indicators to be a hack that was necessary in a world that wasn’t always connected. FaceTime assumes an always-on connection, and (unlike Skype) will never have fees attached to it. It takes a the Net-Neutral stance of “data is data”, regardless of whether it’s voice, video, text, etc.
FaceTime is a powerplay.
You might ask “Why is Apple going after the video chat market? To what end?”
Apple doesn’t really care about video chat, or free calls. What they care about is User Experience.
How is the FaceTime experience superior?
- FaceTime doesn’t use your minutes. Once the call is connected, it’s free. If you had the choice between a FaceTime device where many of your calls could be free, or a Non-FaceTime device where your calls would be paid (unless the person you’re calling has the same 3rd party app installed, and running, and waiting for your call).
- Unlike Skype and other competing products, users don’t have to remember to turn on FaceTime. If you’re conntected, it’s running. You can always receive a call. That’s good for you, but even better for the person trying to reach you.
So, is iChat dead? As soon as Multi-User FaceTime hits the scene, yes. There are lots of great IM clients out there, which offer great user experiences, and Apple doesn’t need or want to compete with them.
The telecom providers better watch out, too. As soon as Apple starts allowing FaceTime over any type of connection (not just WiFi), their voice plan revenues are going to disappear. Everything will be pure data, and it’s only a matter of time until one of the data providers offers a single rate for ALL your data needs: home ethernet/wi-fi + around-town wi-fi + and 3G/4G. $100/mth for 100GB of traffic, accessed however you want on however many devices you want. I think the ONLY reason Apple hasn’t enabled FaceTime over 3G is that it wants to stay friends with AT&T (for the time-being).
FaceTime still wasn’t the most important thing to come out of the event, though.
Continue by reading Part 2
Comments from my old blog:
Richard said: “As soon as Apple starts allowing FaceTime over any type of connection”
I believe that sentence needs to be ” as soon as Apple is allowed to use Facetime over any type of connection”. I truly think it’s the cell phone providers who don’t want this. It would be a really dumb move of them to allow this as you showed.
Don’t get me wrong I want this to happen. In fact, I REALLY want an iPhone without the phone component but with a data plan. But it is telling that there is a ipad with a data plan but not a ipod touch with a data plan…
It will be interesting to see if the next gen iPad that probably will have a camera, will be allowed to use facetime over the dataplan instead of only the wifi but I am not putting any money on that. at 2010-10-24 00:23:04
Julian said: I don’t get it.
You say: “FaceTime doesn’t use your minutes. Once the call is connected, it’s free.” But either does skype if you’re calling a skype user. As far as I know facetime is only good for calling facetime users. So the aspect skype that charges money (telephony) is simply a missing feature in face-time. A huge feature that is actually the reason skype exists.
You say: “a Non-FaceTime device where your calls would be paid (unless the person you’re calling has the same 3rd party app installed, and running, and waiting for your call).” Again how is skype different from facetime in this regard? Don’t I need to have facetime installed (and running) for you to talk to me on facetime? I don’t understand the point you’re making about having to pay.
Besides the lack of online/offline status… which I see as a missing feature rather than a positive, what is ground breaking here? It’s just videochat.
If you’ve done a lot of video chat in the last few days you’ll have noticed by now that it’s mostly a novelty and not good for much. Awkward pauses become…. awkwarder! and you spend most of the time looking at the pane with your own image to make sure you don’t look like a twat.
Lastly, I tried to install facetime. It told me I was missing a security update. I installed the security update. I tried again to install facetime but it still said I was missing a security update. I am for the foreseeable future without facetime for mac. at 2010-10-23 00:24:58
(Derek)[http://www.derekmartin.ca] said: You’re totally right — it IS the cellular providers who don’t want Apple to enable FaceTime over 3G. The thing is, the iPhone is the first cellphone the carriers don’t have full control over. If Apple wanted to, they could be total jerks and enable FaceTime over 3G, and there’s nothing AT&T or anyone else could do about it. The ONLY reason they haven’t already done so is that they value their partnership with AT&T and don’t want to tick them off.
One of the reasons the iPad doesn’t have FaceTime (yet) is because it shipped with a version of iOS that didn’t support FaceTime-via-email-addresses. That shipped later, and enabled the new iPod Touches & Macs to use FaceTime. The next version of iPad (coming in April) will definitely ship with an updated version of iOS, and most likely a FaceTime camera. Things are really going to start moving when that happens. at 2010-10-26 12:25:40
Richard said: “If Apple wanted to, they could be total jerks and enable FaceTime over 3G, and there’s nothing AT&T or anyone else could do about it.”
As long the phone company still controls the bits that get send back and forth to the phone, they have a lot to say. at 2010-10-26 14:13:24
(Zye)[http://www.zaidrasid.com] said: I really like the idea of FaceTime and this post is great. I think you’re right about the direction it’s heading and people aren’t fully understanding it as of yet. It will probably be normal in a few years for everyone to Facetime.
My only argument is that the carriers do have control of both your 3G network and your data network. They build the infrastructure of the networks and they control the throughput. They will have a hand in it one way or another. And if they don’t like the idea of Facetime stealing their calling minutes, they’ll figure out a way to charge the end-user. It sucks but it’s what I believe is under their control. You would have to get government regulation involved to protect the user.
What do you think? at 2010-10-27 18:02:24