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iPhone 4 FaceTime with Warner and Sumocat



Well, well, Warner’s already got his iPhone 4 up and running and the first thing he did was call his buddy Sumocat for a little FaceTime. And by little, I mean all of three minutes from the road. Wait, from the road? Doesn’t FaceTime require Wi-Fi? Sure does, but you know details like that won’t stop Warner.

Here we are. Me in my office and Warner from his car speaking face-to-face via FaceTime. As I’m sure you’ve already guessed, Warner was using his MiFi for the required Wi-Fi connection, so we’ve confirmed that works. I was using the guest Wi-Fi in our office, which I normally avoid using on my iPhone. So I’m just going to say it since you’re probably already thinking it: I don’t think we will ever be the faces of FaceTime. I may have to rethink our positions as the “best-looking tableteers in Northern Virginia“.

That aside, I think the video quality wasn’t too bad considering Warner was en route and I’m using the rather slow connection here at work. A bit pixelated and choppy, but not so bad that it was distracting. Assuming the network doesn’t crash under the weight of video calling, I think it would work acceptably well over 3G (and technically, Warner was using 3G). I’d be interested in seeing if it improves on my faster home Wi-Fi connection.

The audio quality, on the other hand, improved dramatically. Volume was a bit softer but the sound was much clearer. After sorting out our phone numbers (Warner’s call to my Google Voice number only went to my work line, and I had to dig up his GV number to call him back), the connection was a snap. One tap on the FaceTime button on my end, followed by acceptance on his end, and we were face-to-face in a matter of seconds. Seems worthwhile to me just for the sound clarity.

BTW, if you’d like to simulate a FaceTime conversation with me, here’s a short YouTube video to show you what that would be like.



  1. techgeek32

    06/24/2010 at 11:33 am

    I think it is ridiculous that this feature only works on WiFi and with another iPhone 4. It just doesn’t make any sense!

    • Sumocat

      06/24/2010 at 11:48 am

      Actually there are legitimate details to work out with the interoperability of FaceTime. Unlike pure IP video calls, FaceTime initiates the connection through a regular voice call. So should FaceTime count against your minutes or your data? Also, no one else connects video calls this way. Apple is working out deals with carriers (I suspect they want it treated as minutes) and establishing an open standard to address these issues. Skype is already eager to get in on the action and I’d wager they’ll be the first to do it.

    • Gavin Miller

      06/24/2010 at 11:48 am

      WiFi only as the networks can’t stand it, and Apple have said it’s open so no reason why there won’t be Android or desktop apps.

      Baby steps!

  2. tivoboy

    06/24/2010 at 12:26 pm

    It must be ALL ip calls, so data only. Since it doesn’t count against ones minutes

  3. GMA

    06/24/2010 at 3:54 pm

    just got done Facetiming with a buddy (after 7 freakin hours in a reservation line…grrrrrr!!!) anyways…im blown away by how great and simply it works. where i was starting to consider ditching my Sprint Mifi…i’m definitely keeping it now!

  4. Kevin N

    06/24/2010 at 4:31 pm

    I’m a bit confused about these next two paragraphs. Is there something missing in between? The audio quality improved from when to when? Is this going from non-Google Voice to Google Voice? Thanks for the post! — Kevin

    “… I’d be interested in seeing if it improves on my faster home Wi-Fi connection.

    The audio quality, on the other hand, improved dramatically. “

    • Sumocat

      06/24/2010 at 4:40 pm

      Yeah, that probably sounded better in my head. The sound quality improved between the normal voice call and the FaceTime audio. The audio is done like speakerphone so you’d assume it would still be somewhat bad, but it was really clear. The transmission via Wi-Fi must be making a huge difference.

      • Kevin N

        06/24/2010 at 10:35 pm

        Ah, cool. Thanks! — Kevin

  5. Chris Hickie

    06/24/2010 at 8:51 pm

    Can you conference call with this (3 or more faces?)

  6. Roberto

    06/24/2010 at 10:35 pm

    Good grief, driving around and talking on the phone now with video too!! Just what all these texting drivers need. Video calling from the car!! hahaha (This is a joke for those of you with no sense of humor)

  7. Brett Gilbertson

    06/25/2010 at 4:47 pm


  8. Anonymous

    05/05/2011 at 9:14 pm

    Bandwidth will never there for this on LTE (lacks the bandwidth of WiMAX) to do Video this way with any quality. That’s why Sprint has the best Video/Voice calling available. Along with Androids having the only 4G radios available even today. That and the hardware in Android phones supports Voip Video and Voice over 3G and 4G (WiMAX & LTE) and Apple’s hardware does not. Simply cheaper budgeted radios, because neither 3G or 4G support Garden Walled Networks for some purposes through encrypted tunnels (secure garden walls)! ….most likely Apple will have to use VOIP protocols at some point for Facetime to get around Wifi only!

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