New evidence in the latest iPhone SDK makes mention of a front facing camera which could mean that video iChat could finally making it’s debut in the next iPhone.
Bandwidth requirements more than software development or hardware costs have probably been keeping this feature out of the iPhone. If AT&T can’t keep a phone call from dropping, how could they handle 2-way video chat? With recent investments in their infrastructure, maybe AT&T is ready to allow this type of communication (in exchange for more iPhone exclusivity?)
Wether or not video chat finally becomes part of our day to day communication will come down to the quality of the experience.
One of the ways video chat could be improved is to get rid of the separate camera all together and integrate the camera sensor into the display itself. This way, the display will act like a true window (or mirror) and help people make proper eye contact (no looking at a camera.) This tech is in development but no word on when this will make it way into consumer devices.
The ability to switch the video feed the other user is receiving from your front camera to the back camera would also be pretty useful. If you’re witnessing an event or want to show someone something, you can both share in the experience.
If there’s a company who can make mobile video chat work, it’s definitely Apple.