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Switched On: FaceTime prepares for prime time

Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about consumer technology.

Perhaps the most-predicted announcement from Apple's September 1 press event is the addition of two cameras to the iPod touch. Long before Apple revealed its FaceTime videoconferencing software with the iPhone 4, various disassemblers noticed that there seemed to be a place left open for a camera in the last iPod touch, despite Apple's claim that the product didn't "need more stuff." Nonetheless, few could deny the usefulness of such an add-on, particularly when paired with the touch's relatively generous internal memory capacity.

Now, though, adding image and video capture to the touch makes even more sense. Apple's FaceTime video chat software is Wi-Fi-only, and while 3G support would certainly make It more useful on the go, imbuing the iPod touch with the ability to make video calls greatly expands Apple's addressable market with FaceTime, brings the touch into a whole new category and possibly makes it the first affordable, carrier-independent mass market videophone.

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Switched On: FaceTime prepares for prime time originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 04 Sep 2010 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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