iPhone to Introduce FaceTime Video Conferencing Feature

During the recent WWDC keynote, Apple unveiled a new feature for the iOS 4 dubbed FaceTime. This feature introduces video conferencing similar to iChat to the iPhone, utilizing either the front or rear camera of the iPhone 4. The front camera is specifically optimized for FaceTime, allowing users to easily capture a clear image while holding the device at arm’s length.

It supports both portrait and landscape modes and enables users with compatible iOS 4 devices to connect via video chat effortlessly.

Initiating a video chat is straightforward; users simply tap the FaceTime button located in the Contacts app or on the Phone screen. If you’re already engaged in a voice call, tapping this button will send a prompt to the other party, who can either accept or decline the video chat invitation. Once accepted, the video chat begins immediately.

Initially, FaceTime will only be available over WiFi due to some pending agreements with cellular providers, but it is expected to support 3G networks in the future.

Apple plans to propose FaceTime to standards bodies to help make it a universal standard in video communication.

Reflecting on this innovation, I’m reminded of the Picturephones showcased at the 1964/5 World’s Fair. Despite the initial fascination, the technology was not successful due to its high costs and limited appeal. Decades later, the concept of being visually available during a phone call still doesn’t appeal to everyone.

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Laurie

Barbara is a dedicated writer for TUAW, bringing readers the latest insights and updates on all things Apple. With a keen eye for detail and a love for technology, Barbara covers everything from the newest iPhone releases to the latest macOS updates. Her articles are known for their clarity and depth, making complex topics accessible to all. When she’s not writing, Barbara enjoys exploring new features on her Apple Watch and testing out the latest iPad apps.