A couple of months ago we did an informal poll on Twitter asking our super-awesome followers why they Jailbroke their devices. One of the top responses was so they could share their iPhone tethering plan with their iPad. Apple has since addressed that problem with Hotspot. The second major response was “so I can use FaceTime over 3G.” While we’re currently unable to use FaceTime over 3G, we’re hearing today that Apple may be poised to let their users finally video chat while on their cellphones over the 3G network, so long as carriers play nicely.
But here’s the sad part. Currently, as far iOS 5 goes, there is no way to FaceTime chat over 3G. The device asks you to turn on Wi-Fi first. So unless the original reports are based on a future version of iOS 5 that hasn’t been released yet, which could very well be the case, we may not actually be getting FaceTime over 3G. Okay, we’re exaggerating a little. Apparently you can force FaceTime to give you a dialog box that indicates some form of 3G possibility, but you have to be ready to hack away a little.
Macstories says they can make the dialog appear by doing the following:[quote]By playing around with the iOS 5 preferences in Settings->General->Network, we’ve found how to replicate the “issue”: turn off Cellular Data in the Network tab, open FaceTime’s prefs inside the Settings app, and you should get the alert box. If it doesn’t come up, try to turn FaceTime off and on again, making sure Cellular Data is still set to off. iOS 5 will tell you that you need data (3G) or WiFi to use FaceTime.[/quote]
That’s pretty insane, but it certainly doesn’t sound like Apple’s getting ready to roll it out any time soon.
As always, the carriers seem like they’re going to be the gatekeepers of innovation with this one, and they’re likely to charge a nice little stipend for the right to do it, too.
So far, up here in Canada, carriers have been playing nicely with tethering and hotspot. So long as you have a data plan of a decent size (1GB+ in some cases), they throw in hotspot and tethering for free. Hopefully FaceTime calls get the same kind of love.
What do you think? Wishful thinking?