September 7, 2011

Don’t make iMessage as easy as FaceTime

Last year my Dad bought my Sister an iPhone 4 so they could video chat more easily. She lives in London, and had a BlackBerry as most Venezuelans around the world do.

My opinion was sought as with all geek matters, and I regurgitated the Apple marketing material regarding FaceTime and its benefits.

So, do they video chat? Indeed they do! How do they like FaceTime? Well, FaceTime on Skype works great.

Pardon? Which one do they use? You heard me: FaceTime on Skype.

Which in I-am-a-human-and-have-a-life speak means, they use the front facing camera with Skype.

What about FaceTime? Well, they each have used it once, when I called them both from my MacBook Air to try it out.

Other than the original iMac round mouse, I can’t recall an Apple product that has failed so miserably in my family as FaceTime.

From the iPhone 4 features page::

With just a tap, you can wave hello to your kids, share a smile from across the globe, or watch your best friend laugh at your stories — iPhone 4 to iPhone 4 or to the new iPod touch over Wi-Fi.

Great, but tap where?

The Apple fanboy in me says: it’s easy to use because it’s so transparent. Well, it might as well be invisible.

You Got iMessage

As I mentioned before, I’ve tried every single message application that has ever existed on the iPhone. Currently WhatsApp and Kik are the victors of this gladiator-like contest.

So it was with much excitement that I welcomed the news of an iOS Messenger. Until I realized that it seems to follow FaceTime’s magical ease-of-use.

Built right into the Messages app, iMessage allows you to easily send text messages, photos, videos or contact information to a person or a group on other iOS 5 devices over Wi-Fi or 3G.

Emphasis mine. So once again, Apple makes the feature transparent.

Problem is, I want to be sure I’m using iMessage. I love my sister very much, but I don’t want to send a few SMS to London if I’m on EDGE. While the Message app will change color from green to blue of the Send button if iMessage is going to be used, this seems too subtle during a fast paced chat.

And we arrive at the same situation: if I’m not going to be certain when iMessage works, I might as well go directly to the alternative — WhatsApp/Kik.

In the end I want iMessage to work, but recently Apple seems too smart for their own good.


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