iPhone FaceTime Video Chat – Imagine the Possibilities

We’re hearing a lot of buzz about the capabilities of the new iPhone. I think it was fun that Steve Jobs, in his public release announcement, said, “stop me if you heard this…” in reference to the Gizmodo fiasco where Giz revealed the secrets of Job’s new toy before he was allowed to. But I was “wowed” by Job’s next announcement – that Gizmodo DIDN’T find one new revolutionary feature that Job’s did announce – FaceTime Video Chat. Job has big plans for the iphone video chat software, and will be shipping millions of the new iphones soon.

Since the 1930s and Dick Tracy‘s cool video wrist-phone, we’ve all waited for a portable live video phone that we could interact with friends and family and see them while they can watch us. We saw them on the Jetsons cartoons, Star Trek and an actual living example was revealed in the 1964 Worlds Fair but, alas, its glory was short-lived.
But, now, finally, in the 21st century, we have the first talking video phone and, oh, the things you can do, and the things you can see when you do have this phone. (to misquote the great Dr. Seuss).

Lets consider the amazing possibilities one feature of a phone like this can do. I’m a former TV news hound who used to pull miles of dirty cable, climbed to the roof of a huge rickety live-van equipped with a “portable” microwave dish to program the dish skyward which was then pointed towards a transmitter in the mountains so I could transmit our ubiquitous live shot to the television station which in turn would tweak the signal and broadcast it to the masses. TV news stations were in a small and elite group of companies that had this transmitting ability.

Well, maybe because I’m that former news-grunt who struggled with dirty heavy cables to get that live signal ready, but I can see this new incredible phone enabling users to do the same thing I did, and on a smaller or global scale.

Imagine it: Youre driving down the street and you see a crime in progress. You can either grab your cell phone and call 9-11 to verbally tell the switchboard operator what is going on, or you can hit “record” and videotape the event, but you can’t do both at the same time. However, in theory, with the iPhone you can call someone who also has the phone, and tell them what’s happening while you’re sending them live pictures of the event. That person can load your signal into a computer, send THAT to the police – or TV station – or grandma… and, well, you get my drift. Of course, for now, you’d have to have all the right elements in the perfect situation: you have to have WiFi access, you’d have to have someone with a phone that can “talk” to yours, et. al, but this is just the beginning. Once this genie is out of the bottle, there’s no turning back and the future envisioned in the 1930s is now.

You can send live video of cousin Janey’s wedding across the country to Grandma who is unable to attend. Your daycare provider can send live pictures of your kids while they’re having lunch or makingmacaroninecklaces. An athlete can send pictures to his coach while he’s training, to see if his form needs adjusting. A doctor can send livepicturesof a patient’s mystery rashto an associate to discuss treatment – endless possibilities.

What once was considered futuristic technology is now advancing in leaps and bounds, from the 1930s vision of what the world would be like in thismillennium tothe 1964 world’s fair’s projections, we’re seeing the changes unfold. I just wish they’d get moving on delivering us flying cars or jetpacks they promised us by 2000, these fossil-fueled earth-bound vehicles we’re driving are so 20th century.

Jennifer O'Rourke
Jennifer O'Rourke
Jennifer O’Rourke is an Emmy award-winning videographer & editor.

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