Facetime is great, but Apple doesn’t own the mobile video calling market. New this week is an announcement from Fring that they have launched 4-way video calling on mobile devices, for both Android and iOS. Since iChat enabled the ability to chat with multiple people at once in a video call, it seems reasonable to me that Facetime can’t be too far behind unless Apple decides that multiple-person video chats fall into the category of “just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”
If you don’t mind rolling up your sleeves and typing two lines of code on your Mac, Rob “the Corndog” Johnson has a great tip on how to set up Facetime on your home computer to auto-accept incoming Facetime requests from specified phone numbers or accounts:
1.) Open up the Terminal.app located in your /Applications/Utilities folder
2.) Type in the following to allow a specified caller for auto accept incoming calls:
phone number example:
defaults write com.apple.FaceTime AutoAcceptInvitesFrom -array-add +15205551212
AppleID (email) example:
defaults write com.apple.FaceTime AutoAcceptInvitesFrom -array-add email@example.com
Simple enough, right? Enjoy remote surveillance of your house, check in to see how your dog and cat get along when you’re gone, or make sure the babysitter isn’t making out with her boyfriend while you’re on your dinner date.
Yes, there is a workaround. A loophole, if you will. It involves tethering your iPhone to any mobile hotspot (which is in turn connected to a 3G cell network). From the guy who put it together:
Pretty cool, eh? It’s not quite perfect since it requires a hotspot, but if you have one, you can Facetime from anywhere a 3G network is available.
This is why Facetime is so great. It’s wonderful to be able to talk to friends and family over an absolutely easy process, but when you’re afraid your family member may have been caught up in the devastation of a natural disaster, to be able to SEE that they are okay and not just read it… that’s priceless. From this post from Japan during the aftermath of the earthquakes:
You know how in disaster movies, people on the street gather around electronic shops that have TVs in the display windows so they can stay informed with what is going on? In this digital age, that’s what the Tokyo Apple stores became. Staff brought out surge protectors and extension cords with 10s of iOS device adapters so people could charge their phones & pads and contact their loved ones. Even after we finally had to close 10pm, crowds of people huddled in front of our stores to use the wifi into the night, as it was still the only way to get access to the outside world.You know how in disaster movies, people on the street gather around electronic shops that have TVs in the display windows so they can stay informed with what is going on? In this digital age, that’s what the Tokyo Apple stores became. Staff brought out surge protectors and extension cords with 10s of iOS device adapters so people could charge their phones & pads and contact their loved ones. Even after we finally had to close 10pm, crowds of people huddled in front of our stores to use the wifi into the night, as it was still the only way to get access to the outside world…
…Ubiquitous wifi and Facetime devices gave us a lifeline to our families and the rest of the world. Facetime turned out to be MUCH more stable than Skype (And I’m a Skype fanboy!)
Have you *seen* the guided tour of Facetime on the iPad? It’s crazy good. Kudos to Apple for producing something that so succinctly explains what Facetime is and how it works. Click through to view the video.
Don’t be afraid. This is my attic.
You know, it didn’t occur to me at first how Facetime could be useful for more than just talking with friends and family, until recently when I needed to crawl up in our attic. That space you see in the photo above is just large enough for a 6 foot 2 inch guy to crawl through on his belly to make it to the other side (which is exactly what I needed to do to take a look at some electrical work in my attic. Unfortunately, I don’t know much about wiring.
However, my dad does. He was visiting us recently and although I wouldn’t have considered making my dad crawl up in the attic to diagnose our electrical issues, it was no big deal to crawl up there with my iPhone and do a Facetime chat with him to show him, in real time, what the wiring looked like. He was downstairs and able to talk me through what I was seeing and guide me through the maze of electric wires draped throughout the attic.
So technically I *was* Facetiming with my dad, but it was for something other than fun. I guess this is the kind of reason I started this blog… to talk about what new possibilities open up with this technology. Coming soon… a top ten list of alternative ways to use Facetime.
Would you look at that! Facetime got 2 new features today:
– HD (High Definition)
– a price tag of 0.99 cents (app store link)
The HD feature is going to require you have an HD camera (such as on the new Macbook Pros that came out on Feb 24, 2011).
The additional cost for Facetime is said to be part of an accounting issue (thank you sarbanes oxley) more than Apple’s desire to squeeze you for ten of your hard-earned dimes.
You can now download Facetime for the Mac from the Mac App Store and start video chatting in HD. Pretty cool!
Whoa. I guess this makes it official… you’ll be able to Facetime between networks in the US. Good times all around!
How do you get started with Facetime? Here’s the short version:
2. Open Facetime for the first time and you’ll be prompted to create an account (email/phone number and password). Set it up once and you’re done!
3. Find a friend to call for a video chat!
Those are the basics! Of course for as simple as it can be, there’s much more to it. In the coming weeks we’ll take a look at the details and start delving out the tips and tricks for all the great ways you can enhance Facetime for your personal use. How do you plan on using Facetime?
Well how about that? Not to be content with Facetime on AT&T, Verizon announced today they are bringing the iPhone 4 and Facetime to the Verizon network. Exciting news!
So starting in February 2011, people will be able to contact each other in a Facetime video call if they have:
– an iPhone 4 on AT&T
– an iPhone 4 on Verizon
– an iPod Touch (aka iTouch) on any wifi network
– a Mac with the free Facetime software installed
Welcome to the big video show, Verizon fans!