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Want FaceTime video chat on an older Mac? It'll cost 99 cents

FaceTime in App Store

Already own a Mac and want to use Apple's new FaceTime video chat app? It'll cost you 99 cents.

Apple officially released its FaceTime software for Mac computers on Thursday along with updates to its MacBook Pro line.

But, while the new MacBook Pros are shipping with the FaceTime application pre-installed, owners of older Apple computers -- desktop or laptop -- will have to buy FaceTime and install it themselves.

The FaceTime application is sold only through the Mac App Store, not in iTunes and not on retail store shelves. And the Mac App Store is available only on Mac OS X Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6), which sells for $29.

Apple's old video chat software, iChat, is still up and running and still free and installed on every Mac. iChat first arrived back in 2002, in Mac OS X Jaguar (OS X 10.2).

However, unlike FaceTime, iChat can't be used to conduct a video chat session with iPhone 4 and current iPod Touch users.

Apple has said in the past that FaceTime will be added to more devices in the future, and Thursday's inclusion is an example. FaceTime is also widely expected to be included in the iPad 2, which Apple is hosting a March 2 event to show off.

The addition of FaceTime to Apple's MacBook Pro coincides with the introduction of a new above-screen camera, called FaceTime HD. Previous cameras in MacBook Pros were called iSight, which are still found in the company's base MacBooks, iMacs and Cinema Displays -- though they'll likely receive a FaceTime name change when eventually refreshed.

The MacBook Pro's FaceTime HD camera can shoot widescreen format video in high-definition resolution of 720p.

With the arrival of Mac OS X Lion this summer (OS X 10.7) FaceTime will become standard, included software, and iChat will still be around, too.


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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Image: Screenshot of FaceTime for sale in the Mac App Store. Credit: Apple

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