At its simplest, you’ll need the following to Facetime:
1. The Hardware (currently the following hardware supports Facetime: an iPhone 4 or 4S, iPod Touch 4 or 4S, iPad 2, Mac with a built-in iSight (webcam). You and your Facetime friend will each need one of these.
2. Facetime App. If you are on a Mac, you’ll need a copy of Facetime (which you can purchase from the Apple App Store). If you are on an iOS device (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad), the ability to Facetime is built in to the operating system.
3. A Facetime account. You can assign a phone number and/or an email to your Facetime account through your Apple ID. You’ll do this the first time you launch Facetime.
That’s the short version. What questions do you have about how to get Facetime up and running?
Putting a human touch on the technology, the NY Times published an article about how we are using technology not just for nerdery, but for connecting with each other. From “Skypanukkah” holiday celebrations, to saying a final goodbye to a dying relative across the country, the article is full of vignettes of how video chat is changing the way we connect with the people we love.
– NY Times article
Video Chat service Tango just launched a new Video Messaging service on their platform. VentureBeat has the scoop and the details on how you can leave messages for friends when they don’t or can’t pick up a video chat request. I can’t say how many times I’ve wished for this on Facetime. Here’s hoping Apple is
The good folks at Patently Apple have a huge rundown on a new feature that Apple has patented, and that could someday make its way into improved Facetime software. The basic rundown is clear if you’ve ever used Facetime while running around your home or office. Apple wants to make it so different lighting sources don’t make your face washed out with light and then covered in shadows. As lighting sources around you change, Apple wants to help keep the camera focused on a well-lit face in front of it. Check the article for the full rundown!
If you don’t have enough people to Facetime with, or if you’re just an animal lover and would like to make a dog’s day, I highly encourage you to sign up to Treat Chewie. Here’s the concept:
Sign up to have Chewie the dog text you (to let you know a FT request is coming).
Answer the Facetime request and talk to Chewie.
Chewie gets a treat when you Facetime with him.
Don’t worry about Chewie getting fat on treats… here are the caveats:
– Chewie is only receives treats once an hour on the hour
– Chewie is only open for treat business Monday through Friday 10a-6p
– In order to recieve Chewie’s call you must have an iPhone with Facetime and you must be on WIFI at the time of the call
Go forth and Treat Chewie!