I’ve had my iPhone 4 for two days now and can honestly say it is the BEST smartphone I have used to date. For me, the factors that make the iPhone 4 so special are the zippy performance of the A4 1GHz chip, amazingly vibrant retina-free screen, 5 Megapixel LED flash camera and today I discovered FaceTime!
What is FaceTime?
For those who don’t know what FaceTime is, it’s video calling between iPhone 4 to iPhone 4 over WiFi. Yes, video calling has been around for years but Apple has incorporated FaceTime with the iPhone 4 which operates straight out of the box and does not require any special accounts or login. All you need to do is select a contact from your address book and then tap on the FaceTime option – yes, it is THAT easy. If you do attempt to do it without a WiFi network, you’ll just get a blank screen. At the moment you can’t do this over your carrier data network which is a pity. I have a feeling it won’t be long though.
My First FaceTime
This morning, I noticed a tweet request from my friend in Canada, Rannie Turingan (@photojunkie) asking if anyone wanted to FaceTime. I jumped at the chance as I haven’t had the opportunity to try out this functionality yet. When we connected I was surprised by how smooth and clear the video was. There was very little lag and I was able to watch Rannie move from his study to his porch, without any problems. Apple was smart to enforce WiFi-only calls as allowing FaceTime on inferior carriers may have degraded the whole concept and experience. As more and more iPhoners get used to this, data networks will only get better and Apple again will have concreted their space in the market for this type of very easy mobile video calling.
We Need FaceTime Availability Per User
One gripe I have with it though is that there is no way of telling whether another iPhone 4 user is FaceTime ready (not connected to a wireless network). When I tried to redial Rannie for another FaceTime demonstration I just got a blank screen – his iPhone 4 was not connected to his WiFi anymore. Apple need to create some type of FaceTime status for contacts.
Expect To See Android FaceTime Soon
Besides the above, the whole FaceTime experience was entertaining and super easy. I wouldn’t be surprised if next versions of Google Android, Symbian or Blackberry OS come with something similar.
If you’ve got an iPhone 4 try it out for yourself and see! Feel free to leave me your thoughts on it below.