Apple Announces Facetime for Mac OS X

As rumoured, Apple today announced that Facetime would be available on Mac OS X 10.6 and the to be released 10.7 (Lion).  Apple introduced Facetime in June with the iPhone 4 launch and extended it further with the iPod Touch release in September.

Instead of changing iChat AV and making it compliant with Facetime, it appears that Apple is betting big on Facetime as an independant and separate application.  As with the iPhone 4 and and iPod Touch, use of Facetime on the Mac is completely transparent to the user.  There is no configuration required.  It uses the native Address Book / Contacts application on Mac OS X to establish a Facetime call between a Mac OS X based computer and another device, such as iPhone 4 or iPod Touch.  What is not yet clear is whether it will support Mac to Mac calling directly, although the protocol and directory services should also provide that service without any configuration.

The Mac version of Facetime will automatically rotate the display to portrait or landscape mode, depending on the orientation of the device involved in the communication.  There are currently about 19 million Facetime devices out there.  Now that Facetime has come to the Mac, this significantly increases the likelihood that Facetime will become more of a ‘defacto’ standard.

Facetime for Mac OS X is available today as a beta release.

* Update*  I have now confirmed that Facetime on Mac OS X uses your AppleID (me.com) to establish connection and advertise on the Facetime directory services.

About Grant Fengstad

I’m a technology professional in the travel and transportation sector and have been very involved with the Internet for over 20 years.