The Greater Fool

Is FaceTime a Killer App?

FaceTime demo

photo courtesy Mathieu Thouvenin

FaceTime, nee video chat, is, at best, a niche product and not a killer app.  It's a great tool for parents and grandparents to see their loved ones but it won't replace traditional voice-only communications or even Instant-Message style chats.  Why? Because human nature won't allow it, that's why.  

Jules and I chat with Grandma and Grandpa

photo courtesy Joseph Erlewein

Human nature allows us to multitask while we communicate and, in general, that's how we do it.  Whenever we're talking to someone on the phone, we do something else whether it's balancing our checkbook or watch TV or clip our fingernails or worse.  No one wants to see those activities on the other side of the conversation, but we all know everyone does it.  On business.  It's one of the best things about parts about our current communication schemes, allowing us to be productive while we chat away.  Video chat, however, demands our full attention.  Sometimes, that's a good thing.  Oftentimes, it's not.

Embracing a Slogan (286/365)

photo courtesy Nathan Johansen

So unless we radically change our behavioral habits, video chat will remain a niche product for those special times when we want to devote our full attention to our conversations.  Do I need to have in on a mobile phone?  That remains to be seen but I think FaceTime is a neat kfiller feature, I don't see it bringing a whole other demographic to the iPhone platform.