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Next iPod touch getting FaceTime? Don’t count on it.



British retailer John Lewis is pushing the idea that the next iPod touch will includes several upgrades, including video cameras. Seems like a reasonable enough assumption to me, but they’re also listing FaceTime video calls as a supported feature. Sorry, but cameras do not equal FaceTime.


One of the strengths of FaceTime is that it connects with a phone call. No need to setup an additional account. No third-party app involved. It uses Wi-Fi to handle the actual video call, but the initial connection is done through a standard phone call. Notice how that won’t work for the iPod touch.

Granted, it should be possible to connect via FaceTime using other methods. iConverged discovered the video connection is done through SIP and STUN and routed through the IP address and port. The trick is getting that IP address and port, which are not static, from one user to the other. Judging from the FaceTime URL scheme, it appears Apple only supports phone numbers for making that initial connection to transmit the IP data.

Potentially, an iPod touch with video camera could get FaceTime support through a third-party system that supports calls through phone numbers, such as Skype or even Google Voice, but native support seems highly unlikely without involving some sort of additional account.

Via BGR and Electricpig



  1. Drnkusv

    07/08/2010 at 11:49 am

    I am pretty sure you are wrong about this. Facetime calls can be initiated now without using voice, if you want. Bottom line — John Gruber has gone on record a couple of times saying that Facetime will be part of the iPod Touch, and he is almost never wrong about this kind of thing.

    And — if you listen carefully to the keynote that Steve Jobs did at WWDC, you will hear him say that Apple will sell tens of millions of “Facetime devices” in 2010. That could not have been referring simply to iPhone 4. First, tens of millions is a bit bold, and second, he would have just said tens of millions of iPhone 4s.

  2. Ryan

    07/08/2010 at 12:18 pm

    A facetime call can be ititated to anyone in your contact book that has an iphone 4, there’s a facetime button at the bottom. Also, a facetime call shows up in your recent calls list, and will start the connection straightaway, without having to go through ATT.

    • Sumocat

      07/08/2010 at 12:28 pm

      See above. FaceTime can be initiated without calling, but there’s no indication it can be done unless the recipient has a phone number linked to the device.

      That said, if Apple offered a 3G data option for the iPod, like they do for the iPad, then they would have their own phone numbers. Of course, then they’d really be iPhones without phones, and I don’t see that happening either.

      • Drnkusv

        07/08/2010 at 12:34 pm

        You are right that Facetime now uses a phone number as the proxy for finding the other phone and connecting to it. But that is just a convention that happens to make a lot of sense today, as all Facetime capable devices also happen to be iPhones 4 and have phone numbers. I don’t see any technical reason why Apple cannot come up with another unique identifier for every Facetime device that could work just as well.

        • Sumocat

          07/08/2010 at 12:45 pm

          I agree and stated as such in my last paragraph by noting that some other account would be needed for devices without phone numbers. Perhaps they’ll do that with MobileMe and finally make that worthwhile. Of course, then we must wonder why they haven’t already done this to turn their webcam-equipped Macbooks into FaceTime devices. You are right about there being no technical reason why this can’t be done, so why haven’t they done it yet?

          • Drnkusv

            07/08/2010 at 7:31 pm

            I agree it is interesting that they have not equipped Macbooks to interface with Facetime. I suspect it is because Apple, being Apple, wants to market Facetime as a totally new, seamless, video-call system. They want it to be no muss, no fuss, no settings, no complications. People are already familiar with iChat and webcams and Skype and the like. It’s complicated, and it’s confusing. It may be that Apple does not want Facetime associated with what most people consider geeky internet video calling.

            Or maybe they will turn it on at some point — perhaps when they roll out the iPod Touch with Facetime and have to come up with a new protocol for connecting without phone numbers.

            Who knows. Still, from what I have been able to gather, evidence is pointing reasonably clearly towards a front-facing camera equipped, and Facetime equipped, iPod Touch.

          • Leif

            07/11/2010 at 4:13 am

            Sumocat wrote:

            “You are right about there being no technical reason why this can’t be done, so why haven’t they done it yet?”

            You don’t understand how Apple does things. Apple phases everything in. They don’t rush things. They take their time.

            Why didn’t the iPad come with cameras? There is space for them inside. Apple trying to save money? A few bucks? No. Complete morons will say that Apple just wants to force people to upgrade. No.

            Had the iPad included cameras and FaceTime, it would have hit the networks too hard. The iPad was initially banned from a few university campuses because it consumed so much bandwidth.

            There’s no rush to get FaceTime everywhere. The first priority is to get it working and get people using it. By keeping it quite limited in the beginning, they reduce the number of potential problems, bugs, and incompatibilities. If anything was half-baked, “FaceTime” would have developed a bad reputation.

            My guess is that Apple will include FaceTime on the iPod touch. It will move parents with iPhones to buy iPods for the kids. College kids have access to ubiquitous wifi but many of them don’t want to pay for expensive data plans. Apple will make it up selling them games, music, and other stuff.

            There is no solid Android competitor in the same market as the iPod Touch. Public wifi is only going to get better. Apple wants to generate more game sales for iOS. For all these reasons, the iPod touch represents a fantastic way to grow more developers, expand the user base, and begin reducing the platform’s dependence on the whims of wireless providers.

            I have an iPod touch. The dirty little secret about the device is that for so many people, public wifi is so ubiquitous that some people can get 90% of the functionality of a smartphone without any monthly payment.

  3. Dhcushcj

    11/04/2010 at 5:11 pm

    I have an itouch and facetime works with or without a number. Just need the persons email lol

  4. Sten

    11/23/2010 at 11:59 pm

    I can make facetime call with my ipod4. Its natively supported. Its really cool. I never expected they would done this. So nice.

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