iPhone Video Conferencing coming with Next iPhone Revision?
You’re either completely indifferent to the idea of video chats on your iPhone or you’re wondering why the feature isn’t already there. On the Mac I’ve used video chats a handful of times because usually text or voice is more than enough. On the other hand it is nice to have video chat capability on the off chance that talking just isn’t good enough (sometimes you want people to see your angry eyebrows). So video chat is something most people would probably never use but a feature some people would love to have. It is easy to imagine why it hasn’t shown up yet but, thanks to some patent sleuthing by Jesus Diaz at Gizmodo, there are indications that the next version of the iPhone just might have it.
Jesus has all the appropriate patentese in the post a Gizmodo so we’ll just note that it sure does sound like iChat video conferencing on your iPhone. The only remaining question is why the functionality isn’t already in the iPhone. Jesus opines that the omission is because of cost. That could surely be the reason but it is just as likely that implementing a feature that is more glitzy than useful for most users just wasn’t a priority. If you think Apple folks haven’t been really busy you haven’t been paying attention. The other possibility is that the iPhone’s processor isn’t up to snuff for a truly comfortable video chatting experience. Apple likes to get this kind of thing right and the requirements iChat AV are relatively steep.
In fact lets take a look at that just a little more closely. The iPhone has a nice 480 by 320 pixel display. If you look at the patent pics the chat will take up most of the screen. Requirements for at chat at a similar resolution (320 by 240) are at least a 1.5 GHz G5 Mac or a dual 1.66 GHz Intel Mac. The bandwidth for running iChat is 500 Kbps up and down which is something the iPhone’s 3G network can handle. Of course just because it takes a relatively recent Mac to do the video conferencing thing doesn’t mean the iPhone will have to be running off some gigantic battery gobbling processor, after all Macs can do iChat AV and cut and paste simultaneously. Still it kind of makes yo wonder if the video chat thing will be one of those features only available to those who have the latest iteration of the iPhone. Gotta give folks a reason to upgrade after all.