Is FaceTime HD on Its Way to the iPhone?

If you’ve been keeping your ear to the street, you’ve probably heard about all the ramblings concerning Apple’s new MacBook Pro refresh.

That refresh is due tomorrow, so I wasn’t surprised to see some of the official box shots leak out.

Contained on the box of Apple’s latest mobile swag is a new “FaceTime HD” option; presumable 720p video via the MacBook’s built in webcam.

Considering that the iPhone 4, and to a lesser extent, the iPhone 3GS, are technically capable of handling HD video, does this mean that we should expect FaceTime HD on our iPhones?

For 3GS users, you can absolutely forget about it. Even iPhone 4 users shouldn’t get too excited about the possibility for HD mobile video chat.

The iPhone 3GS only has 802.11g capabilities, and while it may be technically capable of snapping HD video, it can’t do it out of the box, and it’s obvious that Apple didn’t have that in mind (no front facing camera and all).

The iPhone 4 is a different story altogether, but I still think it’s a little far fetched. It has 802.11n capabilities, it has the front facing camera, so what’s to stop it from being added?

Question: Have you seen how FaceTime looks, even over a good Wi-Fi connection? A lot of times its pretty terrible.

That would have to be some type of incredible firmware upgrade to enable HD resolution over FaceTime at this stage in the game. If they could just get VGA down pat, I’d be satisfied.

If not the iPhone 4, then when will we see HD video chat on the iPhone? Answer: The iPhone 5. I’m predicting that this will be one of the major selling points of the iPhone 5.

While FaceTime is a nice gimmick for the iPhone 4, it’s unreliable and unrefined. The iPhone 4 was more of a test lab for mobile video chat than anything.

With the iPhone 5, I think we will see greater emphases put on FaceTime, with the HD version making its debut. Just think, you’ll be able to talk to your friends in glorious 720p, and hey, it might work as advertised this time around.

Lastly, let’s not forget the fact that FaceTime only works over Wi-Fi thus far out of the box. With 4G network speeds — something we will likely see with the advent of the iPhone 5 — out of the box video chat can truly be mobile as it should be.

When do you think we’ll see FaceTime HD?

[fsklog via 9 to 5 Mac]