Earlier this week Apple held their “Back to Mac” event and released some groundbreaking technologies. A new iLife ’11 suite that utilizes more screen real estate, an App Store for Mac applications, Lion OSX and FaceTime Beta for Mac amongst others. Many people throughout the past few days have asked me what announcement I am most excited about, and I must say that at this point, FaceTime for Macgets the nod from me.

It’s not like I’m not excited about all the other innovations, it just seems that at this point in my life, FaceTimescreen-shot-2010-10-20-at-93256-pm for Mac is the one that will give me instantaneous gratification. Just as a reminder, I live on the west coast and my parents live on the east coast. We get to see each other about once a year and those years seem to go by faster all the time. My daughters are growing up and as they get bigger I am beginning to realize that my parents are missing out on even more of those simple, yet priceless moments. We use Skype to occasionally video chat but, like I have mentioned before, it’s always four of us huddling around the iMac in an office setting; hardly spontaneous. “Just FaceTime with your iPhones, Tom” is what I heard.  My mom is hardly tech savvy and has not ventured into the smart phone realm, let alone an iPhone 4.

Now that you can FaceTime between Macs and the iPhone 4, or current generation iPod Touch, many more users will be able to experience this form of communication. You can still only use the application over Wi-Fi with the iPhone, but now my kids can FaceTime Grandma and Grandpa from our phones to their Mac. This is a step in the right direction and one can’t help but think Facetime over 3G is just around the corner; until that happens, I use a little trick to get around that limitation.

This afternoon we were out at the park and decided to give my mom a taste of being at the park with the girls, even though she is 3000 miles away. Obviously most parks are not a Wi-Fi hot spot, enter the Virgin Mobile MiFi where  $40 a month gets you unlimited data. A simple press of the button, connect iPhone 4 to the hotspot and viola, you can’t get much closer to being there without actually being there. Apple’s FaceTime made my mother extremely happy and she can’t wait to use it from other events that distance keeps her from experiencing.

We can complain of what Apple doesn’t give us, but they have brought our family closer together and made the miles between us seem just a little shorter.

What do you think about the release of Facetime for Mac? How will you implement it? What other announcements are you excited about? Any disappointments?