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FaceTime 1.0 Arrives in the Mac App Store

FaceTimeApple has released the official version of FaceTime for Mac in the Mac App Store. The app is included with new MacBook Pro machines and is available for download for $0.99 in the Mac App Store [App Store link].

FaceTime made its debut with the iPhone 4 as a way for users to make free iPhone-to-iPhone video calls over a Wi-Fi network. The latest iPod touch units also support FaceTime, and in October, Apple introduced the Mac app.

Using the desktop app, Mac users can place calls to users with an iPhone 4, iPod touch or another Mac. Users log in with their Apple ID and can assign an e-mail address (or several addresses) that act as a “number.”

The big new feature with FaceTime for Mac is that it supports HD video calls. The new MacBook Pro units come equipped with HD web cameras and FaceTime now let users receive 720p video calls. It isn’t clear from Apple’s description if HD cameras like the Logitech HD Pro C910 will also be able to make 720p video calls from FaceTime. I happen to have that web cam hooked up to my Mac and I will test its compatibility with FaceTime for HD calls later today.

The advantage of FaceTime on the desktop, compared with something like Skype, really comes down to convenience and ease of use. FaceTime doesn’t have to be open for a user to receive a call, and making calls to iPhone or Mac users is incredibly simple.

Still, Skype continues to improve its Mac desktop offering and expand its video-calling mobile support, which means this is still going to be relegated to a niche subset of users. Hopefully FaceTime and iChat will become properly integrated in Mac OS X Lion, because that would help unify the various Apple communications apps on the desktop.

Have you used FaceTime on the Mac? What do you think? Let us know.

[via MacRumors]

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