As we've traveled along OS X's byways and thoroughfares, we've encountered a couple of ways to communicate—via email and through text with Apple's Messages application. In this lesson we'll explore a third method: FaceTime, Apple's video chat technology.
Described by some as "Jetsonian" and "the future come to life," FaceTime allows you to place and receive free video calls. It's a feature bundled with Mac OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, and it's found on iOS devices that include a front-facing camera. (On an iPhone it's implemented within the Phone app.) To use FaceTime with your Mac, your computer must be connected to a camera. It can be a built-in FaceTime camera (formerly known as an iSight camera), as found on Apple's laptops and iMacs, or you can use a Mac connected to a compatible USB or FireWire camera.
If you've configured your Mac with an Apple ID (as you should have by now), you'll find that you're ready to receive FaceTime calls. Just launch the application, and the FaceTime window appears. On the left side of the window, you'll see the image that your Mac's camera captured. On the window's right side are the addresses associated with your Apple ID, as well as an empty password field. Enter a password and click Sign In. When you've done this successfully, people who know your address will be able to call you over FaceTime.
If you haven't configured your Mac with an Apple ID, you can enter it in the user name field, enter your password, and click Sign In. And if you don't have an Apple ID, you can get one by clicking the Create New Account button.
When you click Sign In, the resulting pane will show you any addresses and iPhone phone numbers that are associated with your Apple ID. If you have more than one associated address—both an icloud.com address and a me.com address, for instance—you'll see each address listed. If you have multiple addresses, you can uncheck any that you don't wish to use. For example, many people may still know you by your me.com address, and so you may choose to use that rather than your icloud.com address.
Click Next. Apple will verify your addresses, and you'll go to the All Contacts pane. This pane contains all the names you've stored in the Contacts application. Click a contact's name to see any iPhone numbers and email addresses entered in their contact card. Click the entry that you know to be associated with a contact's FaceTime identity, and FaceTime will initiate a call.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.