Why FaceTime And Not iChat?

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Is anyone else curious as to why Apple decided to make an entirely new FaceTime app instead of adding support to iChat? Lets look at why Apple could have done this. So far, FaceTime for Mac isn’t even what I’d expect from Apple; it has little flaws that lead me to think it was rushed—more on that in a bit.

Right now, in order to sign in on iChat, you must have MobileMe, AIM, Google Chat or Jabber accounts. That’s fine for Mac-to-Mac, but how would you reach out to an iPhone? You would have to enter a phone number in iChat—your address book is not synched there. Okay, so add the address book to iChat. Wait, it’s not that easy because, if all a sudden you had an extra 300 people in your instant messenger, many without instant messaging service, it would get overwhelming. Why not just add a section just for added FaceTime friends? I mean clearly the phone number does nothing except point to the devices email (333-555-6666@mms.att.com).

My guess is that Apple, wanting to keep FaceTime an open standard, is looking to recruit other manufacturers to FaceTime and someday open it to Windows users. If Android, Windows Phone 7 and iPhone all had FaceTime with Mac and PC users, it would create a huge network of video-communicators. Throw Facebook or Skype into the mix and welcome to the future. So why was it rushed, so much so that you cannot dial in the app itself and must open address book to add contacts. My guess is that Apple wants everyone on FaceTime by the time the Verizon phone is out. It will force the other mobile operating systems to adopt FaceTime, for one unified video service.

FaceTime in Action

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