Why's Video-Chatting so important???

FSMBP

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jan 22, 2009
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Typically, once or twice a week, someone posts a thread about how they want to know if Apple will put a front facing camera on the iPhone? But why would you possibly want video-conferencing on a phone nowadays?

1. AT&Ts network can BARELY handle calls without dropping them, what makes you think you will have an okay experience with video-chat (which takes a lot more data)?

2. iPhone's battery is a short one; constantly uploading/downloading video during a video-conference would kill the battery faster than anything. You probably wouldn't get more than 15-20 minutes of a video conference that is an 'okay' quality.

3. Apple's a big believer in minimalistic design; you think they would put two cameras on the iPhone? Or if they just had one camera, the front facing one. You wouldn't be able to take a picture of anything without knowing what you're taking a picture of (since the screen and camera are on the same side).

4. Do you realize what type of angle you'd get using a phone to video-conference? You'd have to stick your arm completely out to remotely get your entire head in a pic - at that point, you cannot see your iPhone's tiny screen as much. Also, try holding your phone at arm's length for long periods of time - tell me that is not uncomfortable.

5. How many other people have video-conferencing on their phone? Who would you use it with exactly? But, I guess Skype would be an option here.

I feel at some point (3-5 years), video conferencing on a phone might be tolerable - but it will be like MMS. It's something that seems great on paper but once its there - you'll use it 2 or 3 times a year just because you can.
 

LIVEFRMNYC

macrumors 604
Oct 27, 2009
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You have definitely feed into the negative hype. :rolleyes:

iChat on the iPhone would be amazing. Of course it would also need a front facing cam to make it two way friendly.

I use the Ustream(to stream live video) app on my iPhone on a regular basis using 3G and sometimes for over 30min and the quality is excellent and stable. There's also similar app that's just as good.

I think the main issue would be to control the lag issue. Meaning try to make it as real time as possible. I think with the current speeds, that might be an issue unless they sacrifice video quality for speed.
 

FSMBP

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Original poster
Jan 22, 2009
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You have definitely feed into the negative hype. :rolleyes:

iChat on the iPhone would be amazing. Of course it would also need a front facing cam to make it two way friendly.

I use the Ustream(to stream live video) app on my iPhone on a regular basis using 3G and sometimes for over 30min and the quality is excellent and stable. There's also similar app that's just as good.

I think the main issue would be to control the lag issue. Meaning try to make it as real time as possible. I think with the current speeds, that might be an issue unless they sacrifice video quality for speed.
I actually reached those conclusions myself despite hearing all the positive remarks of "video conferencing would be amazing" ;)

Does Ustream upload the video and download them at the same time (like a video-chat)? I mean, I'm sure you can download/stream video in excellent quality but you can't upload the same quality at the same time.

I just don't get how holding your phone out at arm's length with such a small screen is anything other than 'gimmicky.'

Yeah, it would be 'cool' to use just because you can at first, but with everyone becoming more into texting/Facebooking/Twittering, it seems like a dying concept on a cellphone. Talking on cellphones is already losing appeal(Verizon and AT&T have realized that hence there new unlimited talk plans at low rates).

Personally, on two broadband connections, iChat video quality is 'good' at best - and that's with a plugged in Mac, a constant data connections, and a CPU that can transcode the video into H.264 for a lowering bit rate. There is no way a video-chat on AT&T will be 'good' quality or even close to tolerable.
 

thelatinist

macrumors 603
Aug 15, 2009
5,933
49
Connecticut, USA
Personally, on two broadband connections, iChat video quality is 'good' at best - and that's with a plugged in Mac, a constant data connections, and a CPU that can transcode the video into H.264 for a lowering bit rate. There is no way a video-chat on AT&T will be 'good' quality or even close to tolerable.
I get 1800/300 on 3G, and most of the time I'm on WiFi anyway. And, in case you didn't know it, the iPhone 3GS has hardware H.264 encoding. There's no reason the iPhone shouldn't be perfectly capable of handling videochat.
 

Michael CM1

macrumors 603
Feb 4, 2008
5,676
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I'm assuming it's because most of the other people don't know how ugly they are. *zing!*

If you need to video chat that badly, get a MacBook. It sits on a table and you don't have to hold it. Maybe it's something that's much more popular in Europe or Asia, but we ugly Americans don't need to be doing it from our phones!
 

LIVEFRMNYC

macrumors 604
Oct 27, 2009
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I actually reached those conclusions myself despite hearing all the positive remarks of "video conferencing would be amazing" ;)

Does Ustream upload the video and download them at the same time (like a video-chat)? I mean, I'm sure you can download/stream video in excellent quality but you can't upload the same quality at the same time.

I just don't get how holding your phone out at arm's length with such a small screen is anything other than 'gimmicky.'

Yeah, it would be 'cool' to use just because you can at first, but with everyone becoming more into texting/Facebooking/Twittering, it seems like a dying concept on a cellphone. Talking on cellphones is already losing appeal(Verizon and AT&T have realized that hence there new unlimited talk plans at low rates).

Personally, on two broadband connections, iChat video quality is 'good' at best - and that's with a plugged in Mac, a constant data connections, and a CPU that can transcode the video into H.264 for a lowering bit rate. There is no way a video-chat on AT&T will be 'good' quality or even close to tolerable.

I would agree with you to the fullest if I haven't already experienced this first hand. I had the HTC TyTN II and played around with a couple of programs that allowed this and it worked out pretty decent, besides it being buggy along with the WM OS.
 

jw12345678

macrumors member
Jan 28, 2009
89
2
UK
I would love to have video chat on my phone - for the same reasons I am astonished there is no forward facing camera on the iPad. When I am away from home I like to be able to show my kids where I am. Skype on my laptop is great when I am in a hotel room, but to share anything else with the folks back home iChat (or Skype) would be truly fantastic!
 

blancoBronco

macrumors 6502a
Jul 4, 2009
726
29
South Tampa
iChat on the iPhone would be amazing. Of course it would also need a front facing cam to make it two way friendly.
ya it would be cool, but who would you do it with? just other iPhone users? I know a lot of people who don't have iPhones, so I wouldn't be able to talk to them
 

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
10,888
1,125
Washington DC
most of the time I'm on WiFi anyway.
Good luck with that.

I take my Macbook Pro to around 20 hotels a year for business travel. I often try to video chat with my wife. I've found that roughly 3 or 4 of them have internet connections fast enough to allow video chatting.

That's what? 20% at best? And as someone else said, do you really expect AT&T to be able to handle it? I doubt it.

So I don't know where people expect to video chat FROM. I try it with my Macbook on the road a lot and rarely have success. Sure, it works great at home, but I don't really need it then!
 

LIVEFRMNYC

macrumors 604
Oct 27, 2009
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ya it would be cool, but who would you do it with? just other iPhone users? I know a lot of people who don't have iPhones, so I wouldn't be able to talk to them
Well the iPhone has a huge customer base. I doubt anyone doesn't know at least one person with an iPhone.

iChat is popular and doing well, but it's only available for Mac users not PC. But that's not stopping Mac users from using it.

And also iChat on the iPhone wouldn't be the only avenue. Skype video would also work well.
 

nastebu

macrumors 6502
May 5, 2008
353
0
The OP's point was not only whether it would be technologically possible, but whether even if it was possible it would be usable. I video-iChat all the time, but I agree video iChat would be a gimmick on an iPhone, kind of cool to add to a press release, but awkward and unusable for anything more than a quick glimpse.

Not only would you have to hold the phone out in front of you, but even then you'd still be shaking around, which would make watching the feed like watching a jumpy hand held camera. Even if you bought a tripod to hold the camera, to have a good picture of you you'd have to be far enough away from the phone that your audio wouldn't be very good, and you wouldn't be able to see the other person well.

Do we really want Apple to radically redesign the iPhone in order to make something as gimmicky and marginal a use as video chat possible? Apple could redesign the iphone to hold a folding out pocket knife, compass, corkscrew and pair of tweezers too, and that would occasionally be very useful. I wouldn't call it a good idea.
 

MTI

macrumors 65816
Feb 17, 2009
1,106
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Scottsdale, AZ
I hear all this noise about video chat being so great and why doesn't iPhone, iPod or the iPad support it . . . :confused:

It's pretty darn simple . . . iMac and laptop users, for the most part, aren't using it . . . neither are PC owners . . . and so on. Seriously, how many folks have you done a video conference with in the past month?

For those that are "cutting edge" and really into the videophone experience . . . how great is it when you're holding the camera and talking? Bit hard keeping your face framed? Are your nostrils really that beautiful? :D
 

cjbryce

macrumors 6502
Jun 4, 2008
458
130
London
I hear all this noise about video chat being so great and why doesn't iPhone, iPod or the iPad support it . . . :confused:

It's pretty darn simple . . . iMac and laptop users, for the most part, aren't using it . . . neither are PC owners . . . and so on. Seriously, how many folks have you done a video conference with in the past month?

For those that are "cutting edge" and really into the videophone experience . . . how great is it when you're holding the camera and talking? Bit hard keeping your face framed? Are your nostrils really that beautiful? :D
I'm a frequent "business traveller" and I use Skype video calling on my Macbook almost daily and sometimes several times in one day. Typically I don't use my Macbook for much other than heavy surfing, light Office work or maybe watching a movie. So for me video on an iPad would be great as I get off the hook from having to cart around a full-blown laptop for non-intensive PC use. For this reason alone I won't buy an iPad until there's video.

However, video on an iPhone wouldn't be overly attractive to me - IMO the screen isn't big enough for anything other than occasional video calls, but if the next iPhone has a front facing camera then it won't put me off getting it.

BTW is the argument that you'd need to hold an iPhone at arm's length to frame your head really a logical one? Surely Apple have the wit and wherewithal to overcome that either by focal length or zoom? As to keeping it steady - well, that's always going to be tricky with a hangover:D
 

DoFoT9

macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
17,494
26
Singapore
I get 1800/300 on 3G, and most of the time I'm on WiFi anyway. And, in case you didn't know it, the iPhone 3GS has hardware H.264 encoding. There's no reason the iPhone shouldn't be perfectly capable of handling videochat.
kb/s or KB/s?

either way its impressive. i get a max of 60KB/s both up and down. but i guess thats my phones limitation (E63). wifi is more like 200KB/s+
 

thelatinist

macrumors 603
Aug 15, 2009
5,933
49
Connecticut, USA
Good luck with that. I take my Macbook Pro to around 20 hotels a year for business travel. I often try to video chat with my wife. I've found that roughly 3 or 4 of them have internet connections fast enough to allow video chatting. That's what? 20% at best? And as someone else said, do you really expect AT&T to be able to handle it? I doubt it.

Most of the time I'm not traveling, I'm either at home or at work. I know for a fact that in both places I can video chat. As for AT&T, yes, I think AT&T's 3G would be able to handle a 100 kbps video stream. The only problem would probably be latency. But I can deal.

kb/s or KB/s?

either way its impressive. i get a max of 60KB/s both up and down. but i guess thats my phones limitation (E63). wifi is more like 200KB/s+
1800 kilobits per second downstream, 300 kilobits per second upstream. Pretty typical speeds on AT&T 3G in my experience. Of course I don't hang out in NYC much...
 

0098386

Suspended
Jan 18, 2005
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1. AT&Ts network can BARELY handle calls without dropping them, what makes you think you will have an okay experience with video-chat (which takes a lot more data)?
You think the iPhone is only available in the US? I've never had a dropped call in the UK.

2. iPhone's battery is a short one; constantly uploading/downloading video during a video-conference would kill the battery faster than anything. You probably wouldn't get more than 15-20 minutes of a video conference that is an 'okay' quality.
A dedicated chip to encode video (since there's already a good H264 decoder), or just an updated CPU would fix this.

3. Apple's a big believer in minimalistic design; you think they would put two cameras on the iPhone? Or if they just had one camera, the front facing one. You wouldn't be able to take a picture of anything without knowing what you're taking a picture of (since the screen and camera are on the same side).
A camera is tiny, heck a front facing one wouldn't need to have a resolution bigger than the display. A tiny, hidden 1mp camera behind the glass would work.

4. Do you realize what type of angle you'd get using a phone to video-conference? You'd have to stick your arm completely out to remotely get your entire head in a pic - at that point, you cannot see your iPhone's tiny screen as much. Also, try holding your phone at arm's length for long periods of time - tell me that is not uncomfortable.
Phones have been doing video conferencing since around 2002-2003. It's not a problem at all.

5. How many other people have video-conferencing on their phone? Who would you use it with exactly? But, I guess Skype would be an option here.
A friend of mine who moved away from home for university used it at least once a day to talk to his family at home. I would have loved such a phone whilst my girlfriend was at a different university.

I feel at some point (3-5 years), video conferencing on a phone might be tolerable - but it will be like MMS. It's something that seems great on paper but once its there - you'll use it 2 or 3 times a year just because you can.
This technology has been available and used for years. Why are you making it out to be unproven tech?
 

DoFoT9

macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
17,494
26
Singapore
Good luck with that. I take my Macbook Pro to around 20 hotels a year for business travel. I often try to video chat with my wife. I've found that roughly 3 or 4 of them have internet connections fast enough to allow video chatting. That's what? 20% at best? And as someone else said, do you really expect AT&T to be able to handle it? I doubt it.

Most of the time I'm not traveling, I'm either at home or at work. I know for a fact that in both places I can video chat. As for AT&T, yes, I think AT&T's 3G would be able to handle a 100 kbps video stream. The only problem would probably be latency. But I can deal.
i tried this about a two weeks ago via skype. i tethered my mobile (nokia e63) to my MBP, and skyped to my cousin a good 1000kms away. latency was around 200ms i believe, my video was uploading at a constant 40KB/s (i had one bar of signal in the area, pretty decent rates i guess) and video was coming in around that too i believe. it worked well for 20minutes until the mobile disconnected.

1800 kilobits per second downstream, 300 kilobits per second upstream. Pretty typical speeds on AT&T 3G in my experience. Of course I don't hang out in NYC much...
thats much faster then what we have! stop complaining :p
 

MarlboroLite

macrumors 6502a
Oct 29, 2007
579
5
the 13 colonies
Remember when video calls were the future??? We would all be video calling each other in the year 2000!!!

Turns out that webcams and the like are only used in porn and by family members on skype...i.e the traveling husband talking to the wife or the kid, or saying hi to your mom every two weeks and you turn the cam on because she wants to see you. And nothing else.

I'm not saying video calling is useless, I just layed out what it's usually used for...it turns out that people really didn't want to show themselves on camera to everyone they spoke on the phone with for various reasons, some pretty obvious ones. Adding a front facing cam to a cell phone for this purpose would be nothing but a gimmick and would go unused. Nobody I know talks to their friends on skype via webcam unless they want to show something like their new gadget or dog.

Video calling is totally overrated.
 

FSMBP

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Original poster
Jan 22, 2009
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You think the iPhone is only available in the US? I've never had a dropped call in the UK.


A dedicated chip to encode video (since there's already a good H264 decoder), or just an updated CPU would fix this.


A camera is tiny, heck a front facing one wouldn't need to have a resolution bigger than the display. A tiny, hidden 1mp camera behind the glass would work.


Phones have been doing video conferencing since around 2002-2003. It's not a problem at all.


A friend of mine who moved away from home for university used it at least once a day to talk to his family at home. I would have loved such a phone whilst my girlfriend was at a different university.


This technology has been available and used for years. Why are you making it out to be unproven tech?
With your logic, all popular smart phones should have had video-conferencing by now. But they don't - and I believe my reasons are why they don't.

I'm not saying "video conferencing" isn't a good feature in general - just at the moment, it wouldn't be right to put it on phones. It would seem gimmicky. Nor do I see a future with it - people communicate through text more and that is the trend.

I'm sure you guys with amazing data upload/download speeds aren't the majority - also, who says the person you're chatting with has those same speeds? And also, you think the current iPhone can "capture video, transcode to H.264, upload, and download the other person's video" at the same time without over heating or dying within 10 minutes?? Or even give good quality? Last time I checked, cell phone talk quality isn't even crystal clear nor is video-quality on broadband connections 100% of the time.
 

thelatinist

macrumors 603
Aug 15, 2009
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Connecticut, USA
thats much faster then what we have! stop complaining :p
I don't believe I was complaining.

And also, you think the current iPhone can "capture video, transcode to H.264, upload, and download the other person's video" at the same time without over heating or dying within 10 minutes?? Or even give good quality? Last time I checked, cell phone talk quality isn't even crystal clear nor is video-quality on broadband connections 100% of the time.
The iPhone already has real-time hardware H.264 encoding and decoding. It's built right into the graphics chip. There is no reason video chat should tax that system CPU at all. The biggest biggest battery drain aside from the backlight would be transmitting the 3G data, and I think you're seriously mistaken if you think that the phone can only upload for 10 minutes before the battery dies.

Listen, I get it: you wouldn't use it. That doesn't mean others wouldn't. I would love to be able to video-chat with my wife for even a few minutes during the day or when on a business trip.
 

kdarling

macrumors P6
In our house, we have a kitchen computer with a large touch screen that we use for calendar and video calling. It's like having a magic window to family and friends.

We video call almost every day to friends and family around the globe, from Hawaii to Australia to NYC to Florida.

Video calling has allowed our grandkids, who are thousands of miles away, to "grow up" knowing us, and we knowing them, from their first steps to their first words. It has allowed my parents to see their great-grandkids all the time.

We can hold up kids' latest drawings. We can show off a first haircut or a missing tooth.

When any of us go on vacation, we take a laptop and make video calls back home. But we'd sure rather take a smaller device or devices. A tablet for group calls... and a videophone while out and around... would be nice.

Video calling is terrific. It's an integral part of our extended family's life and we could never go without it now.

Sure wish video calls had been available back when I was a teenager, or in college or overseas in the Army.
 

FSMBP

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jan 22, 2009
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I don't believe I was complaining.



The iPhone already has real-time hardware H.264 encoding and decoding. It's built right into the graphics chip. There is no reason video chat should tax that system CPU at all. The biggest biggest battery drain aside from the backlight would be transmitting the 3G data, and I think you're seriously mistaken if you think that the phone can only upload for 10 minutes before the battery dies.

Listen, I get it: you wouldn't use it. That doesn't mean others wouldn't. I would love to be able to video-chat with my wife for even a few minutes during the day or when on a business trip.

Yes, but the phone would upload and download at the same thing - and its video data which isn't small. It's gonna physical capture video, transcode and upload - AND download the other person's feed. "10 Minutes" was a hyperbole but I wouldn't expect 20 mins max. The problem is heat - it will heat the phone up insanely - which kills the battery.

Also, I agree it might be handy for the reason you said about on trips but would that warrant the feature? A projector on a phone might come in handy once a year but that doesn't mean the iPhone should get one.

And again, the camera would be in your face. You would need to extend your arm out for lengths of time - it just seems like a horrible user experience for an Apple product. But hey, if it's such a great feature and realistically possible for the iPhone to get video-chatting, then it should come out soon.
 

sushi

Moderator emeritus
Jul 19, 2002
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My experience has been that video chat is one of those things everyone wants but few use it, let alone that often.

Now audio chat, that's a whole different ball game.