One of the most exciting announcement that came with the iPhone 4 was FaceTime, a new video chat platform from Apple. FaceTime allows for real-time video chat with minimal lag. Just as exciting as FaceTime is, it comes with a few limitations. If you want to do a FaceTime chat with someone, you have to both have shiny new iPhone 4’s and you both have to be connected to WiFi. These are some pretty stiff limitations and take some of the air out of the announcement, but the DeviceKnit Blog has figured out a way to make things a little less restrictive.
It’s not so much a solution as it is a work-around. Rather than requiring you to be near a WiFi hotspot, you will need to create your own mobile one. The first step is to activate tethering on your iPhone plan, which will run you about $15/month. You will also need a laptop for this to work.
Turn on tethering in Settings > General > Network > Internet Tethering on your iPhone 4 and connect it via USB. You’ll see a new “iPhone USB” connection option pop up in the Network preference pane in System Preferences:
Go to the Sharing preference pane, and turn on Internet Sharing to share your USB connection over WiFi/AirPort:
Now, connect to the network you just created with your iPhone, and you can FaceTime all you want.
Again, it’s not really a solution to the problem. Best case scenario would be the ability to use FaceTime wherever you want and also without having to carry your laptop with you. This setup at least gives you some options for when you need to get your FaceTime on when you’re on the go. The extra $15/month isn’t really that serious if you are really into video chat.
We may see better solutions that get rid of the laptop tethering entirely once the iPhone 4 is officially jail broken, (it actually has been jail broken already, but the solution can’t be released at this time because it contains Apple’s code). The WiFi limitation on FaceTime is definitely something that many would love to get rid of, so expect to see more workarounds and solutions in the near future.