LA Times: iChat AV is ‘first practical software’ for teleconferencing; a ‘huge step up’

“Last month, Apple introduced the first practical software for online video chats. With a fairly inexpensive camera-microphone unit that sits atop the computer and a broadband connection, you can communicate with people around the world not just by typing, but with talking, laughing, hand gestures and smiles. You can say hello to a loved one far away, show off the baby, hold philosophical discussions and, of course, flirt,” reports David Colker for The Los Angeles Times.

“So far, this technology — which shows action in full motion, unlike earlier attempts at Internet video chats that looked like communications with a distant planet — only works on Apple computers,” Colker writes.

“Officials at Apple Computer Inc. would not discuss specific plans for the software, called iChat AV, but if it’s a big hit you can bet the technology will not be limited to Apple-to-Apple use for long. (It might follow the development of Apple’s popular iPod music player, which debuted as an Apple-only product then became Windows-friendly),” reports Colker.

“The audio is even clearer than a telephone’s, although there is a sound delay, sometimes quite pronounced, that takes getting used to. And while the image is not nearly as good as one on TV — it’s a bit washed out and pixelated, depending on the speed of the connection and the computer’s processing power — the iChat AV picture is a huge step up from the halting, postage stamp-sized images of previous video chat attempts,” Colker writes..

Full article here.

Related MacDailyNews article:
8/11/03: Tech TV to feature iSight; iChat AV tonight; lists ‘no Windows support’ as con


  1. I’m amazed that journalists all seem to grasp why iSight costs more than a $29 USB webcam. You’d think they’d all moan about how Apple charges more. Plus webcams just aren’t attention-getting news anymore. You’d think iChat AV and iSight would attract little response from the press.

    Yet iSight and iChat seem to be universally appreciated in every article I’ve seen–which is a lot of articles! (This one’s pretty old though.)

  2. Difficulty aside, Just like iTunes, iChatAV just has to go both platforms in order to take off. I’d go buy an iSight today if I just had someone else to experiment iChatAV with. My options increase dramatically if it would work on WinSin.
    I’m all for the Jetson’s in every way, except just imagine all the traffic accidents if we all owned hovercraft.

  3. If this only works on Apple hardware, then it doesn’t stand too much of a chance. Imagine buying a set of wheels for your car that were advertized to make you feel like you were riding on air – except they wouldn’t work on “avenues”, only on “streets.”

  4. Bad analogy, Jeff. A better one would be buying an engine for your car that runs on only Diesel fuel. Sure, 97% of cars run on Gasoline, but this one runs on just Diesel. I can’t imagine that happening, can you? Unheard of. I mean, we need to make that car adapt! It MUST run on Gasoline, too! How on earth can a car be viable if it only runs on Diesel???

  5. …or looking at the auto industry further, a better analogy for software to platform would be component to car brand. Like shocks and struts that only fit certain cars. Or wheels that only fit certain cars. Or seats, fenders, electronics, windows, handles, transmissions, floormats – and practically every available component – that fits certain cars. They’ll all fail!! We’re all doomed!!

  6. but, you can also use this analogy.

    Look at Porsche or Ferrari, they have less than 3% of the world car market but we don’t hear GM drivers complaining everyday how they will fail… They all want one.

    If you want to have the speed of a Porsche or the luxury of a Mercedes, you need to pay more.

    You get what you pay for. If you want a cheap computer, running a buggy OS with weekly updates, buy a Wintel. If you don’t mind postage stamp size pictures which cannot be scaled, and freeze often, get a $29 webcam with a MS product controlling it.

  7. Just like most things Apple.

    The technology is superior and it takes a person who appreciates quality, reliability and innovation to appreciate it.

    The constant 3% market share FUD we hear from every PC user that insists on wasting their time in a Mac forum is getting really old.

    Instead, why not just accept the fact that 97% of the computer users on prefer to accept mediocrity as state-of-the-art and the truly challenged of this group arrogantly defend it rather than striving to improve their computer using experience.

    Must suck to be such a drone.

  8. Quality… reliability… innovation? But I thought that’s what daddy – I mean Bill Gates – was giving us?

    Maybe this patch I received today will make everything work!

  9. A music player, or an online music store, or a movie editor, or a DVD creator, or a photograph editor, and now an insignificant web cam (of all things) for a minority computer system shouldn’t grab ANY media attention at all. But it does! For a non-Microsoft-based product, it shouldn’t even be in any of the “PC” magazines. But it does!

    I think most of the authors/editors of these articles are giving subtle hints to Microsoft. If these already existed in the MS universe, they wouldn’t be mentioned at all. They fear that the rumors might be true, and that their new Microsoft-driven Dell isn’t the best computer for their needs or their techno-obsessed desires.

    I see no reason why Apple should port everything over to MS systems. Apple is a computer company… correction, a computer SYSTEM company; providing a complete, fast yet stable, powerful yet easy-to-use, system. If they can get a few extra dollars into their R&D department by selling music on the internet to PC users, cool! But Apple will always keep their most precious jewels in their own crown. You can’t fight your enemy by supporting them. Apple will never be strong by merely making MS-based software for the masses. That is waaaay too shortsighted; too much like MS-like thinking. Apple is a leader with its sights set on future technologies, not into today’s fads. Quality will always outlast quantity.

    I do not think that Porsche is worried about 99% of the drivers owning a Ford.

  10. “Quality… reliability… innovation? But I thought that’s what daddy – I mean Bill Gates – was giving us?

    Maybe this patch I received today will make everything work!”


    Yea, I will never understand the Wintel crowd.

    I can see being forced to use such a literally patched together system, but its the reveling in the mediocrity while persistently bashing superior alternatives that I will never understand.

  11. 11 August 2003…today, dancing legend Gregory Hines succumbed to cancer at the young age of 57.

    Having met him at one Macworld event in SF in years past, it is worthy noting what a big fan he was of Apple and the things you guys do.

    Likewise, Apple heralded him as a visionary exemplory for the type of people whose Apple’s products are designed. He is even noted to be an Apple Master.

    I am saddened that a fitting tribute is not hosted here or at, a press release voicing words of calm for his family or a simple announcment acknowledging his passing as a member of our community.

    He will be missed by all, especially the Apple Community.

  12. I am at a complete loss as too the delays involved in iChatAV being able to access the ICQ database. I’m currently run 2 IMs (iChatAV and ICQ) which is both annoying and frustrating. iChat has a far superior interface and with the advances in the AV upgrades, however 90% of my prior contacts were made several years ago and are not necessarily on Macs. I’m not so interested in the AV aspects at this stage, but I am interested in being able to access the ICQ community through iChat.

    Are they not both owned and operated by AOL? What is the delay? Are they working on it?

    I find it generally hard to embrace iChat wholeheartedly until my contacts can be accessed through it. Great technology…..but. It’s like Amway, as soon as you embrace it, wave good-bye to old friends.

    Does anyone else suffer from this particular problem?

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