Is iChat dead?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Diatribe, Nov 23, 2006.

  1. Diatribe macrumors 601

    Diatribe

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2004
    Location:
    Back in the motherland
    #1
    First off sorry for the sensationalistic title. This is an opinion piece so make of it what you will.

    iChat has been on the forefront of full featured, quality instant messaging for a while but has always suffered from Apple's low market share and their use of the AIM network in other countries than the US.
    Now that Skype has all the features that iChat has and since Skype is cross platform more and more people are switching to Skype, even on Macs.
    The others that care about text messaging switch to Adium for it being a multi-protocoll client. This leaves iChat as the ugly step-child that it shouldn't have been.
    Apple missed two opportunities to grow iChat's user base. It could have brought out a Windows client before Skype was that big and it could have actually bought Skype to unite it with iChat and make the best chat client on Windows and Mac.
    Now Apple faces the problems they didn't solve earlier and they're bigger than ever as, even though the Mac user base grows, the iChat user base doesn't, as people switch to Skype and Adium.
    This might change a bit when new features like screen sharing are released in Leopard but then again who really wants to have 3 messengers open to be able to talk to everyone and use all the features?
    The only options for Apple to get out of this predicament is to offer multi-protocoll functionality (hard with MS controlling MSN and being in bed with Yahoo!) or bring out such good functions for iChat and a Windows version that leaves Skype behind. But with Skype becoming the industry standard with telephone makers making phones for it, etc. I don't see this happening.
    This basically leaves iChat behind as an app with a lot of potential that never really made it and most likely never will.

    What do you think?
     
  2. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #2
    I think Apple needs to contribute to the state of cross-platform videoconferencing... yes... if they want to survive. But as far as Skype is concerned, as much as I think it's a great thing, I have maybe one friend with Skype (and no webcam), and about 40 or 50 people each on my MSN and AIM lists, with a number of people with webcams on both services. And the problem there is that the majority of them are not tech savvy... and getting them to switch from one standard to another is a real PITA.

    But I absolutely agree that they have to find a way to reach a larger user base that does not necessarily use Macs....
     
  3. R.Youden macrumors 68020

    R.Youden

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    #3
    You mean Apple make software called iChat?

    Seriously though, I know what you are saying. I feel sorry for the guys working on iChat because it looks like the best internet chat application avaliable but hardly anyone uses it! The new background thing in Leopard looks great but who will get to see it in action (apart from MWSF!). I use Adium and Skype, who needs any more than that?

    Unless, this is all the basis for an iChat phone which will take over the world...
     
  4. clevin macrumors G3

    clevin

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2006
    #4
    ichat is trapped with AIM5.9, and not even sure if newer trition will spt ichat.
    for me, iChat is dead, unless apple makes it compatible with MSN/Yahoo/Skype.
     
  5. timmillwood macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2006
    #6
    iChat was never alive for me, i use MSN and Skype always have.

    Can't use iChat anyway, i dont know anyone with iChat or AIM
     
  6. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603

    MacBoobsPro

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    #7
    If you have friends with AIM or iChat accounts iChat is brilliant. However 99.8% of my 'buddies' are on MSN which I dont want on my machine and so dont 'chat'. I have one friend who occassionally uses iChat -mainly coz I forced her into it when I persuaded her to get a mac. :D
     
  7. tyr2 macrumors 6502a

    tyr2

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    May 6, 2006
    Location:
    Leeds, UK
    #8
    I use iChat but mainly with Jabber rather than actual AIM/.mac users.

    Unfortunatly the Jabber support leaves quite a lot to be desired, eg. you can't connect to multiple servers, you can't register with transports and you can't browse directories.

    One handy feature is that for other users using Jabber/iChat you can use the standard iChat AV facilities even if you don't have them as a AIM/.mac buddy.
     
  8. joshysquashy macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
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    UK
    #9
    i think apple will try to revive ichat when they release the ichat phone (rumored second phone with wifi access).

    the only way for ichat to become big is for it to connect to multiple networks (windows live, aol, .mac, google talk etc) but i doubt if that will happen.

    i would love it if the ichat phone had skype on it, imagine making free calls to comps and cheap calls to landlines anytime you are home/in a free hotspot.
     
  9. jmoss macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2006
    #10
    I like iChat!

    Use it every day and the videoconferencing is superb. I guess it's because my friends who do use computers, use Macs and therefore iChat. Have not really go into Adium or Skype.
     
  10. Foggy macrumors 6502a

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    London, UK
    #11
    I am only one of two in my group of mates with a mac, all the others are on windows or linux boxes. The predominant chat network for us all is MSN, mainly because we have been using it for so damn long - not about to all change now, so I use Adium (which is great). Real shame, I have never gotten a chance to test iChat (the mac mate isnt about very often).
     
  11. Diatribe thread starter macrumors 601

    Diatribe

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    Jan 8, 2004
    Location:
    Back in the motherland
    #12
    Even this thread shows that iChat isn't really used even though most people will admit it is a great app. If Apple ever wants that app to take off they need to do sth. about it. One idea would be to push Jabber to be the main protocol. And I am still for a Windows client too.
     
  12. R.R.Mac macrumors regular

    R.R.Mac

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    Sep 16, 2006
    Location:
    Guildford, England
    #13
    i use iChat but not much for that. i also use MSN.

    I think that apple can easily have a bigger share in the market. i think that they could do this by first, making it cross platform. when its cross platform it can compete with MSN and skype. Then they need to add in feachers like the skype telephone. They need then to make a 'adrium/fire' like program and have iChat as an option, fire and adrium i had to make an AIM account. They then need to advertise it.

    To replace MSN it will be difficult, skype, easy add the phone and you have it! Msn you will have to boost it and make it look really good. Most people at my college use skype because you can decide what port for it to connect to. iChat needs that option too.

    Also they need to delay releasing the iChat phone or the iPhone until they can do this with iChat and get it advertised. :)

    Well thats my opinion at least :eek:
     
  13. Benjamindaines macrumors 68030

    Benjamindaines

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    #14
    Here's where I think Apple went wrong with iChat: They put it out with 10.2 and then no updates were seen until it shipped with 10.3 and then again no updates were seen until the current version shipped with 10.4 and now yet again we haven't seen any updates and a new version is coming out in 10.5. While all the other clients are getting new features iChat's sitting there losing users because of lack of features. Leopard's iChat will catch it up with Adium (except for the customizability) but we all know Apple won't update it at all until 10.6.
     
  14. telecomm macrumors 65816

    telecomm

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    Rome
    #15
    The potential for iPhone integration is going to weigh heavily in favour of iChat, compared to other VOIP options.
     
  15. Diatribe thread starter macrumors 601

    Diatribe

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    #16
    Well if they can really get VoIP into iChat AND have a phone for it too, iChat will be a lot more attractive but still without it going cross-platform I don't see it being able to survive long-term.

    Edit: Thinking about it, Skype-In, Skype-Out and voicemail features would be pretty awesome for iChat.
     
  16. Rojo macrumors 65816

    Rojo

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    Brookyln
    #17
    I'm not much of a chat person, but my boyfriend spends a LOT of time chatting with friends online every day. He has literally hundreds of people on his buddy lists from all over the world, and he uses about 90% MSN, 8% yahoo, 2% other. The ONLY person he uses iChat with is his mother in Spain, since he gave her his Mac when he moved to the U.S., and the video works so well.

    I agree iChat would need to become multi-platform to become a success, but is that even possible?? Or would MSN/Yahoo prevent that? Also, an iChat Mobile iPhone could increase the awareness of iChat -- but unless it also broadens its usability, I don't see people actually using the application to chat on their computers too.

    Yep, iChat's pretty much dead, I think. Apple can make as many cool features for it as they want (like animated backgrounds) -- but it's not going to matter if most people can't use it. And since Mac users will want to use whatever appplication that can connect them to the most friends possible, they won't use iChat either -- despite how good it is.
     
  17. quigleybc macrumors 68030

    quigleybc

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    #18
    Skype is the future, they've got the right idea.

    Only thing is, Skype is rumored to no longer be free in 2007.
     
  18. Diatribe thread starter macrumors 601

    Diatribe

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    #19
    Yes, exactly. That sums it up pretty well.
     
  19. Diatribe thread starter macrumors 601

    Diatribe

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    #20
    If they do this they'll be killing themselves. Would be a great opportunity for Apple to go cross-platform.
     
  20. FireArse macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2004
    #21
    iChat

    Hello,

    May I just add to this a quick comment to support iChat's technical superiority when it comes to what it does.

    I studied video codecs for my final year project at uni, and as a sideline, I decided to test various video-conferencing tools. iChat wiped the floor with the rest of them. H.264 is clearly a step forward.

    In this way, I think iChat has a little in common with Concorde. Technically superior - just without the user figures to support it.

    I try to get everyone to use iChat. I'm thinking of getting my brother an iSight (he has a 1.66Ghz mini) to get him to use it more too. But as many others have said on here, MSN seems to be keeping its lead (especially here in the UK) Sad but true.

    Get more people to switch!

    F
     
  21. Bern macrumors 68000

    Bern

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2004
    Location:
    Australia
    #22
    Well if iChat is technically superior then I've never experienced it. No-one uses it in Australia that I know of and anyone I know overseas uses MSN as well.

    Perhaps Apple should just forget all the snappy stuff they are building in iChat, most of the world doesn't get to see it anyway, and focus on something more useful. If it wasn't for Bootcamp I wouldn't even get to use the built in iSight.
     
  22. backsidetailsli macrumors 65816

    backsidetailsli

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    Aug 1, 2006
    Location:
    Toronto!
    #23
    man i have been dying to use ichat, the problem is that the majority of my friends are on windoze and have msn messenger. i really wish i could use ichat with my friends that are on msn messenger
     
  23. Benjamindaines macrumors 68030

    Benjamindaines

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    Mar 24, 2005
    Location:
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    #24
    So basically what you're all saying is that iChat is a good App but it's useless with out MSN. The only way to change that is to prey or submit your feedback.
     
  24. quigleybc macrumors 68030

    quigleybc

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    Location:
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    #25
    just a sad side effect of the
    mS marketshare
    whattaya gonna do ?

    Apple's not going to support MS in iChat....
     

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