iOS 4.1 beta supports for mobile-free FaceTime via email iOS 4.1 beta supports for mobile-free FaceT

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
New support in the developer beta 3 release of iOS 4.1 allows users to make FaceTime video calls without needing a phone number or mobile service, strengthening the case for FaceTime support on iPod touch, iPad and Macs.



When Apple announced FaceTime as a feature on iPhone 4, chief executive Steve Jobs indicated that it would soon be available on tens of millions of devices and that the standard would be opened up for third parties to implement.



The current FaceTime system on iPhone 4 is tied to the user's phone number, making it easy to initiate video calls without setting up an account. In order to bring the feature to other devices, including the iPod touch, iPad, and Macs, FaceTime needs an alternative way to discover and connect with users.



AppleInsider indicated this would likely happen in conjunction with a MobileMe account, which Apple already uses to enable Mac users to remotely find and connect to shared files and other services on their home systems via the "Back to My Mac" feature.



FaceTime with mobile service



Previous articles noted that FaceTime on iPhone 4 only used the mobile network to discover the remote user, meaning that FaceTime sessions did not use cell minutes.



Additionally, it was later discovered that FaceTime only needs a mobile connection to initially register the user, meaning that subsequent calls to a user could take place even when there was no mobile service available.



Last month, company executives dodged a question about when FaceTime would expand beyond iPhone 4 to reach other mobile devices and or Windows and Mac desktop systems. However, a report by BGR noted that the initial 4.1 beta contained support for associating FaceTime calls with an email address.



According to a new report by Eric Slivka of Mac Rumors, the latest iOS 4.1 beta 3 includes a streamlined interface for initiating FaceTime calls, prompting the user to connect via a phone number or email address (below).







Set to be an open standard



Connecting via email would enable FaceTime on forthcoming new models of iPod touch, which are already rumored to include a front facing camera that would be primarily suited for video calls. The beta graphics also indicate the forthcoming iPod touch 4 is likely to include the same Retina Display as iPhone 4.



Adding support for FaceTime via an email account would also enable Apple to bring FaceTime support to iChat AV on the Mac, which already shares nearly identical video chat technology. This would give Apple a leg up on competing, proprietary video chat networks such as Skype, which currently does not support video chat from mobile devices, or Fring, which was banned by Skype from making mobile to desktop calls via its VoIP network.



Adding iChat AV support would immediately open FaceTime to around 30 million Mac users. It could potentially increase interest among iPhone 4 and new iPod touch 4 users in buying Macs as well. Apple has also announced official intent to open the FaceTime technical specifications to other vendors to allow compatible video calls between any mobile devices.



However, despite the existence of open standards in other areas, including Jabber text instant messaging, there has not been a widespread adoption of open IM across vendors. Yahoo, Microsoft, and AOL IM all continue to maintain their own closed, proprietary IM chat networks while mobile phone operators similarly cling to paid SMS. Only Apple and Google have embraced open Jabber IM.



However, with Skype being the primary video chat network available, and because it does not currently officially support video chat between mobile devices, Apple's FaceTime standard has a much greater opportunity to quickly become the de facto standard for video conferencing. Apple's FaceTime is almost entirely based on IETF standards already, making it very easy for existing video conferencing vendors to support the specification.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 66
    joe hsjoe hs Posts: 488member
    FaceTime on: iPhone 4, iPod Touch 4G, iPad 2G, iChat 10.7/10.6.5 by the end of this year.

    my $0.02
  • Reply 2 of 66
    Time to start shorting AT&T and Verizon.
  • Reply 3 of 66
    postulantpostulant Posts: 1,270member
    Sounds good - bring it on.





    Also, FaceTime works great over 3G.
  • Reply 4 of 66
    vatdorovatdoro Posts: 52member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Joe hs View Post


    FaceTime on: iPhone 4, iPod Touch 4G, iPad 2G, iChat 10.7/10.6.5 by the end of this year.

    my $0.02



    Completely agree. 2010 will be known as "The year of Face Time".



    For every company besides Apple it will be known as a huge Face Palm.

  • Reply 5 of 66
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,157member
    That makes a lot of sense. I just hope Apple would create an address book category for people in my contacts who have FaceTime.



    How long before Apple release VOIP service (FaceTime without video)?
  • Reply 6 of 66
    ihxoihxo Posts: 562member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post


    That makes a lot of sense. I just hope Apple would create an address book category for people in my contacts who have FaceTime.



    How long before Apple release VOIP service (FaceTime without video)?



    voicetime you say? :P
  • Reply 7 of 66
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post


    That makes a lot of sense. I just hope Apple would create an address book category for people in my contacts who have FaceTime.



    How long before Apple release VOIP service (FaceTime without video)?



    I could be wrong, but I don't see the point in that.



    If you already have video and audio, why would you want only audio? I could see them building in something where one user just sees an icon when the other user wants to block the video feed for some reason, but I don't see audio-only connections coming anytime soon.



    It seems more likely to me that they might build in a "reverse Facetime" feature wherein if you make a free Facetime call and the other person *isn't* in a Wi-Fi area, that it gives the option of switching to a regular cell-based voice only call.
  • Reply 8 of 66
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,157member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ihxo View Post


    voicetime you say? :P



    I think I got to trade mark it VoiceTime™



    *VoiceTime™ is a trade mark owned by NasserAE. Using VoiceTime™ without permission from NasserAE could result in lawsuits and fines (That include you Apple).



  • Reply 9 of 66
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    I was a bit confused by the title... Facetime "via email". At first I thought the non-cell phone connection would be made by one user's device emailing another user their IP address.



    But so there is still a central server involved, it sounds. Apple has just made the registration process so transparent that you don't even know you are getting an account on this server.



    And it's very simlar to iChatAV. You use your AIM (or whatever) account so your computers can exchange IP info, and then they establish a peer-to-peer connection after that and no longer need the server. But so while Apple can "open source" the standard as far as the video formats, handshakes, etc, it's still Apple that's going to be running the server that tracks your device for the purpose of making that initial discovery contact, right? Other vendors might have a problem with that.



    Or am I mis-understanding how it works?
  • Reply 10 of 66
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,157member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    I could be wrong, but I don't see the point in that.



    If you already have video and audio, why would you want only audio? I could see them building in something where one user just sees an icon when the other user wants to block the video feed for some reason, but I don't see audio-only connections coming anytime soon.



    It seems more likely to me that they might build in a "reverse Facetime" feature wherein if you make a free Facetime call and the other person *isn't* in a Wi-Fi area, that it gives the option of switching to a regular cell-based voice only call.





    VOIP is a huge market and video calls are not a replacement for voice calls. Video calls are not always practical.
  • Reply 11 of 66
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,201member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post


    I think I got to trade mark it VoiceTime?



    *VoiceTime? is a trade mark owned by NasserAE. Using VoiceTime? without permission from NasserAE could result in lawsuits and fines (That include you Apple).







    Which will logically lead to the sleep apnea aid from Apple: BedTime.
  • Reply 12 of 66
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post


    VOIP is a huge market and video calls are not a replacement for voice calls. Video calls are not always practical.



    Well yeah, but my point was that with this particular technology, there is never going to be a case where the video portion of the call is impractical. Video calls on Facetime only become impractical for reasons based on the users whims, not for any functional reason.



    Thus my argument that while there may be a feature for blocking the video portion of the call (basically when you are indisposed, naked, etc.), there is no reason to have an audio-only service. Certainly no reason to have a separate second service.



    It's WiFi. The network will never be that constricted that the audio alone will be a better, or more functional choice than both together. The only reason not to have video is if the user chooses to turn that portion of the communication off for personal reasons.
  • Reply 13 of 66
    jdlinkjdlink Posts: 50member
    What are the chances of video conference support; i.e., 3+ users?
  • Reply 14 of 66
    wurm5150wurm5150 Posts: 763member
    Question is would HTC, RIM, Nokia, Samsung, and others adopt FaceTime? Especially how Apple have pissed them off recently with the whole antenna mess.
  • Reply 15 of 66
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,157member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    Well yeah, but my point was that with this particular technology, there is never going to be a case where the video portion of the call is impractical. Video calls on Facetime only become impractical for reasons based on the users whims, not for any functional reason.



    Thus my argument that while there may be a feature for blocking the video portion of the call (basically when you are indisposed, naked, etc.), there is no reason to have an audio-only service. Certainly no reason to have a separate second service.



    It's WiFi. The network will never be that constricted that the audio alone will be a better, or more functional choice than both together. The only reason not to have video is if the user chooses to turn that portion of the communication off for personal reasons.



    You are mixing too many issues together. I am not talking about separate service. The service is already there. They only need to add voice only. This is similar iChat where you have voice chat and video chat. If Apple adds voice only to FaceTime then I don't have to use Skype anymore. Beside it will save me money.



    Maybe you don't want it but I am sure many will use it.
  • Reply 16 of 66
    cubertcubert Posts: 728member
    As far as I know, FaceTime has not yet been released as an open standard. Apple's probably waiting for the iPod (and possibly iChat) roll-out.
  • Reply 17 of 66
    jeazjeaz Posts: 4member
    wrong thread WTB delete post button.
  • Reply 18 of 66
    postulantpostulant Posts: 1,270member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post


    Question is would HTC, RIM, Nokia, Samsung, and others adopt FaceTime? Especially how Apple have pissed them off recently with the whole antenna mess.



    If the feature really catches on and customers demand it, I don't see why they wouldn't. The world doesn't revolve around Apple - and that's coming from a fanboi.
  • Reply 19 of 66
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    I could be wrong, but I don't see the point in that.



    If you already have video and audio, why would you want only audio? I could see them building in something where one user just sees an icon when the other user wants to block the video feed for some reason, but I don't see audio-only connections coming anytime soon.



    Because Facetime uses data and not everyone has unlimited dataplans. Here in New Zealand we've got data capped with stupid pricing structures so making a video call over WiFi will chew rapidly into our data plan let alone the even more pathetic data plans on our cellphones.



    Voice takes considerably less data than video.
  • Reply 20 of 66
    orlandoorlando Posts: 601member
    If this feature starts to catch on I imagine Google will quickly add video chat to Android (either built into the OS or as a separate App). They already have video chat as part of Google talk.



    Further more I cannot imagine Skype just sitting back and letting Apple win. I'd expect to see a Skype App with video chat soon.



    The battle is only just beginning.
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