An iOS 5.1.1 error message suggests that Apple has plans to bring 3G support to its FaceTime video chat feature. The news was first reported by the Romanian Apple website iDevice. The warning message would appear when an iPhone running on the latest mobile operating system build has an active FaceTime call over Wi-Fi.
The Birth of FaceTime on 3G Rumor
When a user disables the “Enable 3G” option in the Setting application, a warning message would appear saying that “disabling 3G may end FaceTime.” However, the FaceTime video call over Wi-Fi will continue without interruption, even after 3G has been turned off.
In addition, the iOS also displays another warning message when a user turns the 3G back on. But the same with turning off the connection, it won’t interrupt the FaceTime video call over Wi-Fi.
FaceTime Feature Now and Then
The FaceTime video chat was first introduced in 2010 when Apple released their iPhone 4. After that, the feature was brought to Mac, iPad and iPod Touch following the addition of front-facing cameras on the said devices. However, the feature was only available over Wi-Fi connection.
Basically, FaceTime makes the high-quality video chat easy to initiate and use over the Internet. However, the company has issues of trying the feature work across Network Address Translation boundaries. According to late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, the video chat feature was not available over 3G because that was what mobile carriers want.
In addition, they cannot make FaceTime work on 3G networks because it is vastly expensive to use during those times. Existing video chat phones that work over the 3G network usually charge between .50 to a dollar per minute. Moreover, AT&T is having issues with regards to placing phone calls, which makes the video call unlikely to work. Carriers can also block or restrict the features functionality in case the company enables the FaceTime over 3G.
Steve Jobs added that the feature will continue to be limited to Wi-Fi until mobile carriers warm up with the idea, as well as enhance their coverage while making their prices more affordable. Nevertheless, users can still take advantage of FaceTime through Wi-Fi at their home or office, making the limitation issues out of the question.
Despite the feature’s limitations, there are users who were able to find a way to enable FaceTime over 3G in iPhone 4. However, it requires the handset owner to jailbreak his or her device and download a program. And although it may take a while before FaceTime on 3G exists, the iOS 5.1.1 error message only indicates that it will be an imminent feature.