The video message could be provided in response to a video chat request after a period of time had elapsed since receiving the video chat request, the company said.
Alternatively, the video message could be sent when no user input has been received for a period of time exceeding a threshold, meaning the recipient is likely away from their computer. Similarly, the message could be provided when the value of iChat's status indicator indicates a "do-not-disturb" status.
"Thus, the video chat system can be used as an always-on service without unnecessarily interrupting the user while the user is engaged in another chat session or another task," Apple explained. "The audio-video messaging services are provided using an answering machine-type application that is familiar to most users who have used conventional telephone answering machines."