Former CEO Steve Jobs said that FaceTime would be Wi-Fi only in 2010 when it was introduced at WWDC 2010. “We need to work a little bit with the cellular providers to get ready for the future, so we’re Wi-Fi only in 2010,” he said at the time. In theory, the company was waiting for better network connections to support video chat before allowing it over more than just Wi-Fi. But that doesn’t seem to be the case, even with powerful 4G LTE speeds.
Verizon Wireless and AT&T’s 4G LTE speeds are significantly faster than anything their respective 3G networks can cook up, so video chat should work fine in those markets that have LTE. Verizon expects to cover 260 million Americans with LTE by the end of the year. AT&T, on the other hand, plans to cover 150 million Americans by the end of 2012.
What’s especially frustrating is that the new iPad allows you to create a Wi-Fi hotspot for other devices, such as an iPhone 4S. Using an iPhone 4S over an iPad-created hotspot would allow you to run FaceTime using a 4G connection all the same.
Apple did not immediately respond with a comment. (And in this case, we don’t expect them to.)