A FaceTime call from a Mac computer
|Initial release||February 24, 2011|
|Stable release||2.0 / July 25, 2012|
|Operating system||Mac OS X 10.6.6 and later|
|Available in||English, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish|
|License||Commercial proprietary software|
A FaceTime call from an iPhone 4
|Initial release||June 24, 2010|
|Stable release||iOS 7.0 / September 18, 2013|
|Operating system||iOS 4 and later|
|Platform||iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini, iPod Touch|
|Type||Videotelephony, Voice over IP (VOIP)|
|License||Commercial proprietary software|
FaceTime is a videotelephony –and from September 2013 also voice over IP (VOIP)– software application and related protocols, developed by Apple Inc. for supported mobile devices running iOS and Macintosh computers running Mac OS X 10.6.6 onwards. The video version of FaceTime is supported on any iOS device with a forward-facing camera and on any Macintosh computer equipped with a FaceTime Camera, formerly known as an iSight Camera). FaceTime Audio is available on any iOS device supporting iOS 7 onwards.
FaceTime was announced by then-Apple CEO Steve Jobs at his keynote speech on June 7, 2010 at the 2010 Worldwide Developers Conference in conjunction with the iPhone 4. Support for the fourth generation iPod Touch (the first model of iPod Touch to be equipped with cameras) was announced in conjunction with this device's release on September 8, 2010.
FaceTime for Mac OS X was announced on October 20, 2010 at the "Back to the Mac" Media event on the Apple Campus.
On February 24, 2011, FaceTime left beta and was listed in the Mac App Store for $0.99 (£0.69). Apple claims that it intended to provide the application free of charge. However, a provision of the Sarbanes–Oxley Act (2002) bars companies from providing an unadvertised new feature of an already-sold product without enduring "onerous accounting measures."  The free beta is still available for download from the Apple servers. However, it is included free in OS X from Mac OS X Lion (10.7) onwards.
On March 2, 2011, FaceTime support was announced for the newly introduced iPad 2, which gained forward- and rear-facing cameras.
FaceTime works by connecting an iPhone 4 or later, a fourth generation iPod Touch or later, a second generation iPad or later, or a computer with OS X, to another supported device. FaceTime is currently incompatible with non-Apple devices or any other video calling services. Mac models introduced in 2011 introduced high-definition video FaceTime which is automatically used when both devices have a FaceTime HD camera.
On the iPhone, FaceTime can also be activated during a telephone call and then pressing the FaceTime button. FaceTime calls may also be initiated via call history or through the Contacts application. Since iOS 7, there is also a separate FaceTime app, as there always has been on Apple's non-telephony devices: iPad, iPod Touch, and Mac.
Until the release of iOS 6, FaceTime required a WiFi connection to work. From iOS 6 onwards, FaceTime for the iPhone and iPad has supported FaceTime calls over cellular networks (3G or LTE) provided the carrier enabled it, which by mid-2013 virtually all carriers worldwide have allowed. FaceTime uses about three megabytes of data per minute of conversation. Cellular talk time/minutes are not used after switching from a voice call to a FaceTime call.
You can place FaceTime calls from supported devices to any phone number or email address that is registered to the FaceTime service. A single email address can be registered to multiple devices and a call placed to that address will ring on all of the devices simultaneously.
On iPad, iPod Touch, and Mac, you need to add a person as a contact using the FaceTime or Contacts app before you can call them.[clarification needed]
The FaceTime protocol is based on numerous open industry standards:
- H.264 and AAC-ELD – video and audio codecs respectively.
- SIP – IETF signaling protocol for VoIP.
- STUN, TURN and ICE – IETF technologies for traversing firewalls and NAT.
- RTP and SRTP – IETF standards for delivering real-time and encrypted media streams for VoIP.
Upon the launch of the iPhone 4, Jobs promised that Apple would immediately start working with standards bodies to make the FaceTime protocol an "open standard". While the protocols are simple open standards, Apple's FaceTime service requires a client-side certificate. This measure protects against robocalling and telemarketing as access to the service is controlled by Apple. However, this measure is partly why FaceTime has currently not been implemented on non-Apple devices.
A new audio-only version of FaceTime, named FaceTime Audio, was announced during the annual Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) keynote speech on June 10, 2013, and released with iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks on September 18, 2013. As a new audio-only version of FaceTime, it effectively makes the protocol into a voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), that competes with other mainstream providers in the field, including Skype (Microsoft), et al.
Based on the same AAC-ELD audio protocol, the service provides high quality audio. The iOS 7 betas limited FaceTime Audio to calls placed on a Wi-Fi network (the same original limitation of the video version of FaceTime), but the final release has removed that restriction to allow it to work over 3G and LTE data connections, as is the case with most carriers and plans with regard to FaceTime with video. Like the video version, FaceTime Audio is currently only available between Apple devices.
As of October 2010[update], FaceTime is not enabled on devices bought in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia possibly due to regulations in these countries which restrict the use of IP-based communications technology. However, devices bought outside of these countries support both video and audio versions of FaceTime. Although Egypt, Jordan, Qatar & Kuwait originally disabled FaceTime on the iPhone 4, they later re-enabled the feature through a carrier update for existing phone owners and made it pre-enabled on any newly purchased iPhone.
- "Our name". Learn More. FaceTime Communications. Retrieved June 7, 2010. "Apple has announced that it will use 'FaceTime' as the trademark for its new video calling application. Our agreement with Apple to transfer the FaceTime trademark to them comes as we are rebranding our company to better reflect our capabilities. This is an Apple app that should come with your apple product. We will be announcing a new name in the coming months."
- Macgasm. "Apple charges for FaceTime". Retrieved February 24, 2011.
- "Internet Utilities". Mac. Softpedia. link within last sentence "The page provides access to FaceTime 0.9 Build 92 version".
- Zeman, Eric (August 2, 2010). "iPhone 4 Jailbreak Unlocks 3G FaceTime Calls". InformationWeek. Retrieved November 25, 2011.
- Daniel Eran Dilger (June 8, 2010). "Inside iPhone 4: FaceTime video calling". AppleInsider. Retrieved June 9, 2010.
- Wright, Josh (July 9, 2010). "part 3: Call Connection Initialization". Special Look: Face Time. Packetstan. Retrieved March 6, 2011.
- Ray, Bill (October 19, 2010). "Apple wipes smile off FaceTime in the Middle East". The Register. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
- FaceTime – official site