Finally. After over three years of resistance I will buy my first iPhone when it will hit the market in France. This time Steve Jobs got me on the right nerve, FaceTime.
Of course there are other nice features like the new display, the smaller size etc that turns the iPhone 4 into a decent replacement for my Asus EEE netbook which I now use when I am not at home but I truly think that FaceTime could be a massive game changer.
Remember when the iPad launched? The tech scene was expecting at least one camera but was disappointed by Apple. Although a tear down of the iPad showed that there is space for a camera holder that would fit with the standard camera used by Apple already built in the device. So, why did Steve Jobs decide to launch the first Gen iPad without a camera?
I think the reason for that is actually the app FaceTime and he decided to roll it out on his flagship device. And there are a several reasons for doing so. Reason one is that most of the current iPhone 3GS users will switch to the iPhone 4 like they did with the versions before. Then, there is a group of people like me who will buy their first iPhone because of this feature. Not to forget that the iPhone is a huge eco system within itself and hence Apple can test the usage patterns of FaceTime with their biggest customer group.
Now if it works like planned I am pretty darn sure the second Gen iPad will have at least a front facing camera and FaceTime on it. Then iPhone users can video call / conference iPad users. Maybe there will even be a specialized web meeting app for this eco system as most business people are using either one or both devices. Taking this another step forward you could easily add a next gen iPod Touch with front facing camera to the network and last but not least install the software on Apple computers and laptops.
All of a sudden Skype, Google Talk, GoToMeeting, Adobe Live Connect and all the others might become irrelevant. Maybe there will even be a version of FaceTime running Windows like QuickTime. Apple won’t need to make money with FaceTime as it is not their main business. It works over WiFi so there are virtually no costs for Apple either. But of course there is a huge potential for app developers to create extra features like webmeetings, virtual classrooms etc.
We can take this even one step further. If you watched the interview of Steve Jobs at the D8 conference you would have learned that Apple is only investing time and effort in emerging technologies. If we take into consideration that the human mind gets used to new things very quickly and then does not want to miss them anymore we could say that if you once had a video call on the iPhone 4 with its gorgeous display you would not want to have normal phone calls anymore. Skype did this in some way already. Classic phone calls are so 90ies to me.
I think Apple believes that the old telephone model is in its decline, like Apple thinks Flash is, and WiFi is in its increase. And as you know free WiFi is becoming a commodity. There are less and less zones without WiFi internet access. You can even turn your new Ford into a WiFi zone. So, Apple does not care about mobile phone providers anymore as in the near future WiFi will have the same coverage (at least in city areas) like 3G or 4G have today. Hence there will be a flip. WiFi will be the new standard way to do phone calls as it offers video calls, better voice quality and it is free. 3G 4G will only be a substitute and used in areas without WiFi access.
I believe FaceTime will change the way we communicate.
As I said, this time Steve Jobs got me and I will happily exchange my four year old Sagem my501 mobile phone for an iPhone 4. So, the only question open is: will it be black or white?
What about you?
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