iSight and iChat

By Mark Hachman  |  Posted 2003-06-23 Print this article Print

: videoconferencing made easy"> iSight and iChat: videoconferencing made easy "In real world tests and in SPEC tests we can clearly say we have caught up with the PC and passed them with the fastest computer in the world," Jobs said. Apples hardware innovations didnt stop there. Since the G5 systems are optimized for multimedia, it made sense to spice up some basic applications with multimedia functionality. Enter iSpice: Apples first Webcam., married to a new multimedia version of Apples iChat IM service.
Apple found that the conventional Webcams perched on the desk next to a user, robbing them of the emotional connection that one receives when eye contact is made. iSight, an A/V camera "companion" capable of displaying 640x480 resolution images at 30 frames a second, can be mounted on the back of Apples flat-panel monitors and notebooks. iSight contains a dual-element microphone, and is powered by a single FireWire jack.
"Its one of the coolest things weve ever done," Jobs said. "Its video conferencing for the rest of us." Holding a VOIP video- or audio-conference is as easy as double-clicking on an AIM or iChat user, Jobs said; the control panel also monitors "presence," or who is online. In a demonstration Jobs received a "videophone" iChat call from Al Gore while talking to Apple marketing executives at the back of the room as well as overseas, in Paris. The iSight, available now, is priced at $149, and the multimedia version of iChat will cost $29.99 for the "Panther" release of OS X. iChat will be free in Panther, so theres an incentive to upgrade, Jobs said. Jobs, in his dual role as chief executive of Apple and of CGI film studio Pixar, also announced that Apple had developed "Pixlet", a "breakthrough" QuickTime codec that allows film-grade digital video to be compressed and sent electronically from workstation to workstation. The codec saves data in a 48-bit-per-pixel format, and can accomdate up to 5.1 surround sound. Jobs smoothly scrolled a "half-DV" (960x540) trailer of Finding Nemo, and said the video could be worked with on a 1-GHz G4.


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