Back in October of last year, it was reported that several countries in Africa and the Middle East were excluded from Apple's list of supported countries for FaceTime on the iPhone, iPod touch and Mac. Not only did Apple mysteriously remove mentions of FaceTime from Saudi Arabia's website, they later confirmed through an official document that carriers were blocking video calling on the iPhone and even went ahead to restrict FaceTime for Mac (which doesn't rely on any mobile carrier -- well, unless you tether your Mac to an iPhone) to specific countries in the application's preferences. After months of discussions and hacks to enable FaceTime on African and Middle Eastern handsets, the takeaway was that carriers were definitely putting a lot of pressure on Apple for some reason.
The first step towards FaceTime availability in these countries has finally been taken by Vodafone, which has enabled FaceTime in Egypt with a carrier software update for iPhone. As noted by SaudiMac, the update simply adds a boolean string to the iPhone's configuration file with video calling set to "yes". This leads us to think that carriers can restrict and restore FaceTime at any time with software updates -- something Apple can't apparently control.
Egypt is still included in the countries with blocked FaceTime, but we guess it will updated soon with possibly more countries receiving carrier updates. [via SaudiMac]
Here's an interesting feature we didn't know had been implemented on iOS 4.3 that has been brought to our attention this morning by German blog Macerkopf.de [Google Translation]: on the iOS 4.3 GM (released last night) you can start Personal Hotspot and let a second iPhone connect to use FaceTime over 3G.
Personal Hotspot creates a WiFi connection, but we know that's actually a shared 3G one. Starting with an active 3G connection on the first iPhone running iOS 4.3, up to 5 other devices can connect to the Personal Hotspot, which is recognized in the Settings as a WiFi network. Macerkopf speculates that the fact that iPhones can connect to Personal Hotspot and use FaceTime is new to the 4.3 GM build seeded to developers yesterday.
I've tested this with my two iPhone 4s and a Mac running FaceTime, and it works. With the first iPhone, I made sure I had 3G active and created a WiFi network with Personal Hotspot. With the second iPhone 4, I connected to Personal Hotspot and called my Mac using FaceTime. It worked the other way around as well. Video quality and sound weren't excellent (like I said, it's a 3G connection) but definitely acceptable.
This is an interesting little detail because Apple doesn't want you to use FaceTime over 3G. A number of Cydia tweaks surfaced in the past to overcome Apple's restrictions, like Facebreak and My3G. But if you happen to have two iPhones (say, your wife's) and you really need to use FaceTime on the go to call someone, Personal Hotspot will let you do that. Even if it's actually a 3G connection, it appears that as long as the iPhone "sees" the network as a WiFi one, it's fine. Clearly the second iPhone isn't able to tell whether the connection comes from 3G or not.
We don't know if this was possible on the previous betas of iOS 4.3, so if you're still running one of those and the method works, please let us know in the comments below.
What a day! Apple has not only exceeded our expectations for an iPad 2, but has introduced a whole slew of new apps that bring iLife to the touchscreen. Are we completely blown away? Shocked? I think all of us are going to have a hard time coming off of this one, at least until we get the iPad 2 (in black or white) in our own hands. If you're looking for the summary of all things iPad 2, you'll find it right here.
The rumors were true, and the iPad 2 will get a Photo Booth. Thanks to its faster processor and graphics, the Photo Booth app will be able to let you see 9 video streams at once, on the screen.
And of course, the iPad 2 has FaceTime support. You can call other iPad owners, but also iPhone 4s and Macs. The interface looks very similar to the one seen on the iPhone.
For those who have ever wanted to record FaceTime calls you may want to consider purchasing IMCapture for FaceTime, a new app that has the ability to record your precious FaceTime calls. The developer has previously released an IMCapture for Skype and IMCapture for Yahoo Messenger which, as the names suggest allowed you to record calls in those alternative VoIP services.
The app comes with a variety of recording and output options, amongst the options include the ability to record just the audio choose which user (or both) to record and the video can be outputted to several QuickTime-supported formats including MOV, MPEG-4, FLV and SWF. The app runs on the Mac so you will have to be either calling or receiving the call through the Mac FaceTime client to record it. The one other negative is the price of the app, coming in at a very steep $50 - likely aimed at professionals rather than the average consumer who might record a couple of calls.
Ahead of the new MacBook Pros, Apple launched the final version of FaceTime for Mac in the Mac App Store today. It's priced at $0.99. The new version of FaceTime for Mac will allow 720p video calling Mac-to-Mac with supported Intel models that have a FaceTime HD camera -- the new MacBook Pros. New MacBook Pro owners will get the app pre-installed, other users will have to buy it from the Mac App Store.
Video calls require a built-in FaceTime camera, an iSight camera (built-in or external), a USB video class (UVC) camera, or a FireWire DV camcorder; and a 128-Kbps upstream and downstream Internet connection. Making HD video calls requires a built-in FaceTime HD camera and a 1-Mbps upstream and downstream Internet connection. Receiving HD video calls requires a supported Intel-based Mac (for a complete list, visit http://support.apple.com/bk/HT4534).
Full description below. Read more
A few days after Apple released the first beta of iOS 4.3, several developers and bloggers did a little bit of digging into the SDK and new firmware file to find out whether Apple had managed to hide references to new hardware and features into iOS 4.3. iPad camera files aside, icons for FaceTime and Photo Booth surfaced, as well as strings in the code that pointed to new camera effects finding their way to iOS. These effects looked very similar to the ones used by Apple in the iPod nano fifth generation: X-Ray, thermal, light tunnel, kaleidoscope, and so forth.
A new patent design uncovered by Patently Apple today confirms that engineers and designers at Cupertino have been studying the implementation of Photo Booth with image effects for iPhones and iPads, but the most interesting part is perhaps the adoption of image editing features system-wide, configurable in the settings, that users will also be able to manipulate with sound, motion, GPS and touch. Read more
Two weeks ago we reported a hacker managed to get FaceTime working in the first generation iPad, even if the device doesn't come with the camera and the hack requires to perform a jailbreak and load some iPod touch system files. If you really want to run FaceTime on your iPad, but you don't want to go through the manual effort of copying files and repairing permissions, iFacePad is a new app for the Mac that simplifies the process and allows you to install the iPod touch FaceTime app on the iPad in a few minutes.
To use iFacePad, you'll need a jailbroken iPad and the iPod touch 4th gen firmware file. An app like PhoneDisk to access the iPad from the Finder is also required, and you can check out the full set of instructions here. Demo video below. [iSpazio via FunkySpaceMonkey] Read more
In spite of the iPad lacking a camera (that should change very soon with the iPad 2), hackers have managed to port the FaceTime application for the iPod touch 4th gen to the tablet and make it work even without access to any kind of camera. The hack, called Intell, requires a pretty laborious installation process you can check out here, and involves changing permissions and values to a series of files inside the iPad's filesystem.
The FaceTime app has been resized to scale nicely on the iPad's larger screen, although it's very clear that is an iPhone / iPod touch app running on a screen that's not meant for it. The hack works from iPad to any other FaceTime device and, of course, iPhone users calling iPad owners will only receive audio. The app works over WiFi as required by FaceTime.
With the next-generation iPad coming in a few months with FaceTime capabilities it shouldn't be so hard to wait for video calling on the tablet, but if you really want to try it now, follow the instructions and check out the demo video below. [via 9to5mac] Read more