The next iLife app: FaceTime iChat?
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The next iLife app: FaceTime iChat?

The online scuttlebutt says iLife 2011 is coming very soon, dropping iDVD and adding a new app. I think that's about right, and I think that new app may be a hybrid of FaceTime and iChat. (FaceChat? iTime? Naw, Apple will probably just call it FaceTime.)

In case you're not familiar with it, FaceTime is video calling that uses Wi-Fi. Apple says that using FaceTime is as easy as making a regular voice call, with no set-up required. On the iPhone 4 and fourth gen iPod touch, you can instantly switch to the rear camera to show others what you are seeing with just a tap.

FaceTime works right out of the box. You don't have to up a special account or screen name.If you want to start a video call with your best friend, find her entry in your Contacts and tap the FaceTime button. Or maybe you’re already on a voice call with her and you want to switch to video. Just tap the FaceTime button on the Phone screen. Either way, an invitation pops up on her iPhone 4 screen asking if she wants to join you. When she accepts, the video call begins.

Right now FaceTime only works iPhone 4/iPod touch to iPhone 4/iPod touch. However, since all Macs but the Mac mini and Mac Pro have built-in iSight cameras (though, obviously, webcams can be attached), it only makes sense to extend FaceTime to our favorite computing platform. All Macs come with iChat, so it might make sense to merge iChat and FaceTime into one app.

That should move lots of extra Macs. But Apple is offering FaceTime as an open standard, so the company is doubtless figuring Windows systems into the equation at some point in the future.

-- Dennis Sellers

 

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