Whoever thought it was a good idea to put pockets on men’s swimming trunks owes me $200. I don’t know if you’ve ever taken three kids under the age of nine to the pool before, but it’s easy for your attention to get pulled into multiple directions. You’re so focused on the kids that you forget about yourself for a while. Such as forgetting that as you were leaving the house to head to the pool, you slipped your iPhone into your swimsuit pocket. Hey, it’s just like a pair of shorts right? Until you arrive at the pool and the kids are anxious to get in so you wade into the pool only to realize that the phone is still in your pocket. Crap. There goes $200.
I had a serious dilemma. Do I spend the money to replace the phone, or do I go back to my pre-iPhone phone sitting in a desk drawer (which I saved just in-case a situation like this occurred)? Although I enjoyed the iPhone greatly during the time I owned it, could I really justify spending the money to replace it? If you’re wondering, there is a specific clause in the extended warranty that says “Hey dumbass, don’t take it into the pool.” Ultimately I did replace the phone but it wasn’t because of my love of Fruit Ninja or Angry Birds. I replaced it because of FaceTime. There are two main reasons I felt I needed FaceTime and I also have some thoughts regarding its future use.
For those of you unfamiliar with FaceTime, it’s Apple’s video-calling experience. It lets two iPhone 4, iPad 2, or Mac users connect and have a face-to-face conversation. Science fiction has been touting this type of technology for years and versions of video conferencing for work have come on to the scene and then never utilized because of poor quality of either the picture, sound or a combination of both. I’ve been impressed with the ease of using FaceTime and the quality of the connection but here are the reasons I thought it was worth the money for a new iPhone.
1. Work Travel. My wife recently started a job that requires her to travel more frequently. They aren’t incredibly long trips, but when you’re away from family it can feel like you’re missing out. This is especially true with small children who change and grow so quickly. My wife would call to talk to the kids (and perhaps me – but pretty sure the kids were her priority) but they never really focused enough to have a real conversation. In particular, our 3 year-old, Dot, was still puzzled by how a phone worked and what she was hearing. She knew how to hold the phone and would smile when she heard her mom’s voice, but she wouldn’t talk. Like most kids her age, she’d just stand there holding the phone. With FaceTime, Dot could actually SEE mom smile and have a conversation face-to-face. My wife could SEE what was happening at home and actually be a part of it. Totally worth the expense.
2. Grandparents. My parents are retired and live three hours away. It’s not a huge distance but long enough that we weren’t making very frequent visits. A recurring comment when we would see them in-person was how much the kids have grown and changed. Once my parents became owners of an iPad 2, there was a new level of involvement in seeing the kids grow. Our calls would be via FaceTime and they could experience what was taking place here at our house. Yakko and Wakko would show them the medals they received for playing baseball over the summer and Dot would play a game of hide-and-seek where she’d sneak into the picture somewhere until either grandma or grandpa would spot her. Phone calls are nice, but FaceTime adds a new level of enjoyment.
3. The Future of FaceTime. Bringing families closer together is a definite advantage to technology such as FaceTime. There are plenty of outrageous future applications for video calling but I’m going to leave you with one that makes the most sense and is probably the closest to being a reality. I see FaceTime impacting how companies screen employment candidates for in-person visits. It’s expensive to bring candidates into your office for face-to-face interviews. Combining the phone interview with FaceTime allows the employer (and the employee) see how they handle themselves during an interview. It also opens up an entirely new industry as prospective employees will need “professional backdrops” to hide the dirty laundry on the floor. Finally, a reason to buy something from fathead.com.