My mom doesn’t know smartphones, but she wants Facetime. The same woman who used a Motorola RAZR for most of the last decade now wants to drop – or, more precisely, wants me to drop – $299 for a new iPhone 4 so she can see the grandkids. Why? Because it seems like magic to her that she can see live video of the grandkids without having to make my dad hobble over to the computer and fire up Skype.
Video chat is not new and to most geeks Facetime is an affornt to the hard work and patience they put into getting video chat to work over Wi-Fi and cellular networks over the past few years. The Euros all scream “But we had video chat on our Nokias during the Clinton administration!” while streaming zealots claim they were video chatting with each other for years before Apple barged in. But with rumors that the new iPod Touch will have a front facing camera and will be launched sometime in September, I think Apple is about to own the video chat space.