Apple introduces iChat AV and iSight; video conferencing for ‘The Rest of Us’

Apple today introduced a major breakthrough in video conferencing-the iChat AV software application and the iSight digital video camera. Together they enable high-quality video conferences between two Mac users over any broadband connection, revolutionizing the way people communicate with business associates, colleagues in education, friends and family. iChat AV also features audio conferences even over dial-up connections to the Internet. iChat AV requires no set up or configuration beyond installing the software and plugging in any FireWire video camera and
microphone. Buddies with audio or video conferencing capability automatically show up in your buddy list, and initiating a video or audio conference is as simple as pushing one button. iChat AV is a key feature of the upcoming release of Mac OS X version 10.3 “Panther,” and is available as a public beta today for Mac OS X version 10.2 “Jaguar.”

While iChat AV works with any FireWire video camera, Apple’s iSight digital video camera was designed for video conferencing, delivering sharp images and clear sound through its built-in, dual-element noise-suppressing microphone. Smaller and lighter than most cell phones, iSight has a unique center mount design which allows video conversations to be far more engaging and natural. iSight is available today and demonstrates Apple’s unique ability to create a tightly integrated hardware and software solution.

“iChat AV is a major breakthrough in communications — users can now video conference with their business associates, colleagues in education, friends and family with just the push of a button,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO in the press release. “iChat AV and iSight truly offer video conferencing for the rest of us, and since they were designed with Apple’s legendary ease-of-use, anyone can set
them up in under five minutes.”

Building on the success of the iChat instant messaging application in Mac OS X, iChat AV extends instant communication to the next level with the world’s best personal video conferencing application. With high-quality, full screen, full motion video over broadband, crystal clear audio over 56K modem and a familiar easy-to-use interface, iChat AV makes natural conversations over the Internet immediate and effortless. Automatic display of video and audio icons within the familiar iChat buddy list instantly identifies buddies with video or audio conferencing capabilities so conversations can begin at the click of a button from the office, home or anywhere.

Featuring Apple’s legendary design and ease-of-use, iSight is a small, light and incredibly portable aluminum alloy camera that features a custom designed lens with auto-focus and a high-end CCD sensor to provide high- resolution images and full-motion video at up to 30 frames per second. iSight includes an integrated microphone that suppresses ambient noise for crystal-clear digital audio. With its on-board processor, iSight automatically adjusts color, white balance, sharpness and contrast to provide high-quality images with accurate color reproduction in any lighting conditions.

iSight is designed to be center-mounted on the top of any computer screen and uses its integrated tilt and rotate mechanism to easily position the camera for natural, face-to-face video conferencing. iSight is smaller and lighter than most cell phones and extremely portable. With all audio, video and power provided by a single FireWire cable, simply clipping the compact iSight camera to any PowerBook(R) G4 or iBook(R) for convenient on-the-go video conferencing, makes it easy for travelers to keep in touch with family, friends and business associates while they are on the road.

The time-limited iChat AV public beta is available immediately for free download at [url=http://www.apple.com/ichat]http://www.apple.com/ichat,[/url] and requires Mac OS X version 10.2.5 “Jaguar.” Video conferencing requires a PowerPC 600 MHz G3 or greater Macintosh computer. The final version of iChat AV will be included as a key feature of the upcoming release of Mac OS X version 10.3 “Panther” and will also be downloadable from Apple for US$29.95 as a standalone upgrade for users of Mac OS X v10.2.5 “Jaguar” or later.

The iSight video camera is available today through the Apple Store (http://www.apple.com), at Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers for a suggested retail price of US$149. iSight requires the iChat AV public beta and Mac OS X v10.2.5 “Jaguar” or later.

More info about iSight here]here]http://www.apple.com/isight/]here[/url][/url]
More info about iChat AV here.

6 Comments

  1. I’m sorry, but a webcam is a webcam, and even though the iSight is very stylish, it would need 1024×786 resolution to be impressive, at 30fps. Now, if it tracked your movement to keep you in focus and centered on screen, that would be innovative…

  2. i really like the new ichat, a few friends of mine we were playing with it, we all have digital camcorders so we were able to view one another, and anyone with mic we were able to hear one another. What is great, is i have a Formac Studio DV/TV tuner on my computer to watch t.v. and ichat reads it as a camera, so i would do a video chat with someone and they could watch and hear whatever t.v. station i had my computer on.. very cool, atleast to me, but probably useless…. have fun

  3. Having upgraded OSX 10.2.1 to 10.2.6 to allow use of the new ichat public beta version, with Powerbook G4 and iBOT camera, all works well, but the video appears as a mirror-image. The set-up works normally with other software (e.g, Yahoo messenger and BTV). Anyone spot that?

  4. It seem that my B&WG3;, iMac G3400mhz and powerbood do NOT support video conferencing. I am using a Sony Camcorder, video recognized by by the system in every other application or use, but iChat AV says it is not supported on any of my 3 macs. Anybody have an idea why?

    Cinque

  5. iChat sucks (unless you’re on AOL) AOL sucks. Apple finally responded to my dozens of user-feedback forms to come up with an “iCam” (as I suggested – but they with with iSight). Whatever.

    Most of who I know uses Yahoo! Messenger. Some of my friends use ICQ. Some use MSN. Only a few use AOL. I have accounts in ICQ, AOL, MSN, and Yahoo. That’s why I use Fire. Fire works great because it’s simplified, compact, and is well-engineered.

    iChat is beautiful. I wish Apple would do like Fire and add support for all the other IM clients.

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