One of the new features of the recently-launched iPhone 4 is its front-facing camera and the ability to conduct a video call. Yes, Apple (and in a small part, AT&T) finally gives U.S. consumers a taste of video calling on a mobile phone, something that Asian and European mobile users would probably go “Meh. Been there. Done that.”
But before you get too excited, Apple’s implementation of video calling — dubbed FaceTime — doesn’t quite work over a cellular network. FaceTime requires both parties to use the iPhone 4 and only over WiFi.
Now that I’ve dampened your interest in this, please continue to read on… Because Apple has set up a toll-free line to help iPhone 4 customers test FaceTime.
Thanks to overwhelming demand (again), the iPhone 4 has sold out everywhere on launch day. That means your fanboy buddies and family members probably don’t have one yet. So how could you test the nifty FaceTime feature?
Just call 1-888-FACETIME and an Apple representative will gladly accept your video call! He or she will also happily walk through some tips on using FaceTime, or just shoot the breeze for a while. But just don’t take up too much of his or her time because after all, Apple has to run a tight ship in its contact centers.
I got to try it (yes, my buddies are iPhone 4-less) and must say that it was an amazing (magical!) experience. Not so much for the cool factor, but just how easy and high-quality the whole ordeal was: call a number, tap “FaceTime,” and GO!
My guess is that Apple will keep incorporate this beyond the FaceTime test offering. With the success of the iPhone 4, I’m sure many users will appreciate the ability to video call an agent whenever they call Apple support.
And with Steve Jobs already publicly offering FaceTime to anyone who wants to adopt it, it will just be a matter of time before mobile video calls becomes popular. If history is any indication, Apple is the company which has the chops to make new tech adoption happen and happen fast. (Apple led the way in: GUI, color graphics, built-in LAN, built-in sound, floppy drive, built-in CD-ROM, all USB, etc…)