Justin Santamaria is a former chief engineer who worked at Apple, particularly in the 2010s. He delivered, during an interview a few days ago, some secrets about the design of FaceTime. The videoconferencing software was made available to everyone in 2011. It was a few years before that the first pieces of the project were assembled. While the development of FaceTime is in progress, during the year 2009, Justin Santamaria becomes the person in charge of it. The man was also responsible for supervising the teams working on iMessage, the Apple messaging service released in 2011.
During his stories, to listen to in the episode named “(Bonus) Inventing FaceTime and iMessage With Apple Engineer Justin Santamaria”podcast Techmeme Ride Home, the former high-ranking Apple recounts a rather lunar presentation of FaceTime to Steve Jobs.
‘I was in my boss’s office with my team… Another person was positioned in another office, and another, still somewhere else. We were then using 4 computers, all ready for the demo. I remember being instructed to pretend that everything was working fine, even if something went wrong. We were in the beta test phase, a few weeks before the release. When FaceTime opened with the characteristic sound of “woom” in the 3D view, I remember Steve Jobs reacting and saying: “my God, people are going to shit on themselves (Oh my god, I’ m gonna make the crowd sh*t their pants)”’.
In other words, Steve Jobs was particularly packed by FaceTime during the demonstration, and was obviously eager to present the software to the general public.
Here is the first FaceTime call made by Steve Jobs on stage during a keynote in 2010:
This Apple Event also saw the ex-CEO of Apple unveil the iPhone 4. At the time, video calls were not as widespread a means of communication as they are today, far from it. FaceTime was one of the first solutions in this area, functional and intended for the general public.
Today, and following the pandemic, videoconference calls are inevitable to communicate with loved ones and even colleagues.
Finally, note that, as reported by Justin Santamaria, Steve Jobs had the ambition to make FaceTime a open source standard for group video calls. This never happened however.
Are you a big FaceTime user?