updated 04:45 pm EDT, Mon June 23, 2003
Apple today released iChat AV software application and the iSight digital video camera, which enables high-quality video conferences between two Mac users over any broadband connection and features audio conferences on slower dial-up connections. iChat AV is a feature of the upcoming release of Mac OS X 10.3 "Panther," and is available as a public beta today for Mac OS X version 10.2 "Jaguar."
Apple says that 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."
Though 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. 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. The camera will automatically adjust 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® G4 or iBook® 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 , and requires Mac OS X version 10.2.5 "Jaguar." Video conferencing requires a PowerPC 600 MHz G3. The final version of iChat AV will be included as part of "Panther" and will also be downloadable from Apple for $30 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 and Apple Authorized Resellers for $150. It requires the iChat AV public beta and Mac OS X v10.2.5 "Jaguar" or later.