FaceTime is an excellent video calling solution. Offered by Apple, it is probably the easiest to use in its functionality, and it offers good quality video calls. There’s only one problem with it – you have to have an Apple device or computer to use it (it’s not cross-platform). I’ve been a long time Skype user. Recently, I’ve been having an issue using it on my Macs whereby an error message appears saying “video has been turned off.” No matter of troubleshooting has solved the problem.
Curiously, there is something of an information black hole at the moment on the web as to what is causing this. The great thing about the web is that someone else out there somewhere would’ve had the same problem and come up with a solution. In this case, nothing. Just a lot of people asking questions in forums. While I was looking around for alternative solutions, it was quite easy to rely on FaceTime.
However, this became a problem when I wanted to communicate with people who didn’t have an Apple device. Skype, despite its clunky user interface and lack of easy-to-use controls, did offer a ubiquitous experience.
If Apple made FaceTime cross-platform, can you imagine the take-up of this service given it is far easier to use? It may just introduce even more people to their device platform. Of course, the thought of Apple “opening up” any of its services and devices to other platforms flies in the face of their manifesto of a closed system. It would also not benefit their bottom line, and make no mistake, they do care about that, despite their marketing department telling everyone that they are “only” in it to make great products.
Still, it makes you wonder what life would be like with a universal version of FaceTime. This may be a case of a service that consumers will not accept in a closed system. If Apple had the foresight to open it up to other platforms, they may just open up their world of customers even more than what they have been. They did it with iTunes. What about this?