During his 2010 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference keynote, CEO Steve Jobs said, "We’re going to the standards bodies, starting tomorrow, and we’re going to make FaceTime an open industry standard.” So has any progress been made in this area?
In case you're not familiar with it, FaceTime lets you video chat with friends on Mac OS X and iOS devices. Getting started is easy — simply enter your Apple ID and you're ready to go. Whether you're talking to someone on an iPhone or on another Mac, video calls with FaceTime look great.
FaceTime is excellent technology. But Apple needs to rely on all computers -- Windows included -- to support the system in order to really become the revolutionary offering Apple has made it out to be. The tech that FaceTime is built on is a collection of open source and licensed tech that Apple does a great job of tying together. All Apple really has to do is to release their code and any licensing dependancies and let the third parties work out any licensing issues -- if they have any.
Meanwhile, Apple could let it be know that they are working on freeing up licensing requirements. They would score some PR cred and maybe get some of the larger companies that already have things like H.264 licenses to start producing FaceTime apps and devices
In fact, Nate Lanxon of Wired once wrote: "Of course, you could argue Skype has been around for years and hasn’t made mobile video calling a reality, and I’d argue back that Skype has yet to make an implementation of PC-to-mobile video call technology that would have allowed it to become a reality in the first place. The next step should involve Apple baking FaceTime into OS X, likely within the iChat [now called Messages] application. Mac-to-iPhone video calling, sans-cost and in decent quality, could spark the likes of Skype to investigate the idea of becoming the PC-based software equivalent."
Hopefully, FaceTime will be ratified as an open standard. -- and soon. Six years after the WWDC 2010 keynote, however, this doesn't seem any closer to reality. Which is a shame and a lost opportunity on Apple's part.