During his 2010 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference keynote, CEO Steve Jobs said, “We’re going to the standards bodies, starting tomorrow, and we’re going to make FaceTime an open industry standard.” So has any progress been made in this area?
In case you’re not familiar with it, FaceTime is video calling that uses Wi-Fi. It was first introduced with the iPhone 4. FaceTime for Mac makes it possible to communicate with anyone on an iPhone 4, iPod touch, or Mac from your Mac. If you use one of the new MacBook Pros you get 720p clarity.
All you need is an Apple ID and an email address and you’re ready to roll. To start a video call with someone, find her entry in the contacts list. FaceTime works with Address Book so you don’t have to enter your contacts from scratch.
FaceTime is excellent technology. But Apple needs to rely on all computers — Windows included — to support the system in order to really become the revolutionary offering Apple has made it out to be. The tech that FaceTime is built on is a collection of open source and licensed tech that Apple does a great job of tying together. All Apple really has to do is to release their code and any licensing dependancies and let the third parties work out any licensing issues — if they have any.
Meanwhile, Apple could let it be know that they are working on freeing up licensing requirements. They would score some PR cred and maybe get some of the larger companies that already have things like H.264 licenses to start producing FaceTime apps and devices
In fact, Nate Lanxon of “Wired” wrote (http://macte.ch/0sGjI) wrote: “Of course, you could argue Skype has been around for years and hasn’t made mobile video calling a reality, and I’d argue back that Skype has yet to make an implementation of PC-to-mobile video call technology that would have allowed it to become a reality in the first place. The next step should involve Apple baking FaceTime into OS X, likely within the iChat application. Mac-to-iPhone video calling, sans-cost and in decent quality, could spark the likes of Skype to investigate the idea of becoming the PC-based software equivalent.”
Hopefully, FaceTime will be ratified as an open standard. — and soon. A year after the WWDC 2010 keynote, however, this doesn’t seem any closer to reality. Which is a shame and a lost opportunity on Apple’s part.
— Dennis Sellers