Back when Apple brought out FaceTime, I couldn’t get why it had to make a separate video chat app when it already had iChat. Now we have a third app included with iOS 5, called iMessage. Why?
If the people at Apple are intent on making little messaging apps, each with their micro-purpose, then I’d like to suggest some new ones to them:
- iShmooze: giving people a direct chat line to their boss or work hierarchy
- iRx: so you can chat about your medications with your neighbors and know-it-all relatives, and get better prescription advice than from your doctor
- iExChat: for venomous quips exchanged between ex-spouses and other ex-es…
- iSeeAds: for people interested in seeing targeted ads; perhaps you can work in a micro-pyramid scheme where people can get something like 1-5 cents when they view an ad or invite their friends to view ads; that should be popular…
- iSeeDeadPeople: photo sharing for zombie and vampire lovers
- iPotty: for those who love to share those precious moments in the bathroom
- iAte: see above and substitute food; this one could come with a photo sharing option, for those who love taking photos of said food; in hindsight, perhaps the photo sharing option could be extended to the iPotty app as well, I saw some folks online who would be interested in that.
For a company renowned for its design and the clear focus of its products, I’m surprised to see three messaging apps. Why? Didn’t anyone put their hand up to say, “Hey, don’t we already have iChat?”
Perhaps it makes sense to have the separation, from a software and procotol perspective. Perhaps iChat was designed for the computer. Perhaps the AOL messaging protocols it still uses aren’t suited for the purposes of FaceTime and iMessage. But it still makes NO sense.
If Apple was able to take OS X and turn it into iOS, then take features from iOS and put them back into OS X, then it’s quite capable of making iChat the go-to app for all its messaging needs. Rewrite it and make it work! It’s already incredibly capable on the desktop. It can do text chat, audio chat, video chat, file sharing and screen sharing. I use it all the time to do video conferencing with my parents, all the way across the Atlantic Ocean, and I use it for screen sharing as well, when I help them troubleshoot issues on their computers or simply teach them how to use them better. Why in the world would you leave a capable app like that behind and write a new one called FaceTime? And then why would you further fragment that segment and make another one called iMessage? Why?
I’d like to see iChat be the one and only app that does everything this set of three apps does and more. I’d like to challenge the people at Apple to make it work the way it should work, tailored to the capabilities of each device where it will be installed.