Yesterday’s revelation of the iPhone 4 — and the delicious idea of Video Chat using FaceTime — was tempered by AT&T’s refusal to allow FaceTime chats on their network.  If you want to Video Chat on the iPhone 4, you better find a WiFi connection.

What I found most interesting about the FaceTime announcement was major news buried as a minor tidbit on the Engadget website:

The FaceTime app is pretty cool — you can flip the image between the front and rear cameras and between portrait and landscape orientation, and the video call system is built on open standards like SIP, H.264, and AAC so it’ll work with other video calling apps as well. [emphasis added]

With FaceTime using open standards, you will be able to connect to people beyond the iPhone platform for video conferencing — now I understand why video chat on the iPhone 4 is called “FaceTime” instead of “iChat” — iChat is a closed and proprietary platform while FaceTime is ready to communicate with any and all like-minded devices.

That means the Deaf will be able to forgo closed services like Purple and Sorenson and the criminally deceitful DHIS and instead go “point-to-point” — “hand to hand?” — for direct communication with each other in the wild grasp of their iPhone 4 instead of from the chain of the dead desktop of their videophone.

FaceTime cuts out the middleman seeking bonuses and profit for distributing “free” Federally sponsored videophones for the Deaf, and then charging the government for carrying those video calls on their network and for providing interpreters.  Now the Deaf can take their portable videophone anywhere they wish in their fist for instant communication via FaceTime.

For the average-bodied among us, FaceTime is also a delight.  We will be able to communicate with our Skype and Ojo and GoToMeeting friends via open standards video chat — and if you have a closed and proprietary video conferencing system, FaceTime will quickly guarantee the imminent death of your product by withering it into obsolete obscurity by the sheer weight of millions of embedded, open standards, users.

FaceTime is big news — and it’s going to only get bigger and more robust — and the fact that AT&T won’t let us use their network for FaceTime damns them all the way into the deepest hollows of Hell.


    1. It’s just unfortunate that most of the world have been able to do video chat over a regular cellular system for the last 5 years. AT&T has a old and creaky network infrastructure and yet we pay a premium price for the punishment of using it.

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