Editorial: The vision thing By David Leishman email@example.com
“I can see it, see it, see it; you’ve got yourself together.” — “I Can’t Believe It” by The Rolling Stones
I swear it’s true! This week’s column was going to suggest that Apple should release its iChat AV software for Windows and make its iSight Webcam/mike available to the huge audience of PC users.
Instead, Apple stole my thunder by joining with AOL this morning (Thursday) to announce that they’ve upgraded their instant messaging applications (iChat AV and AIM, respectively) to enable Mac and PC users to share video conferencing sessions over the Web. (As long as the PC users are AOL members, that is.)
As I struggled to overcome my chagrin at the announcement’s timing, I grumbled that my idea would have been a stronger move for the company, because it would have helped Apple sell some computers and iSights to potential switchers. But after calming down, I’m now convinced that Apple’s — and Mac users’ — interests are better served by its decision.
It’s pretty simple, really. It boils down to numbers, standards, and fading into the woodwork.
Apple might have sold a few more boxes and devices, but it’s hard to combat the fact that there are already a bazillion PCs in the world that need only a $30 USB Webcam (and maybe a $20 mike) in order to do video conferencing. And sure, there are some “high-priced” FireWire Webcams (between $80-$100) that work on either platform, but even quality-conscious buyers might balk at an additional $50 premium for the iSight. (It’s true, though, that none of these other guys are as elegant, but you might want to read Macworld magazine’s shoot-out review to see how these devices rate.)
So Apple instead chose to offer Mac users access to AOL’s 50 million users, a group that sends nearly two billion instant messages every day, according to Jim Dalrymple’s report for MacCentral. Even I couldn’t argue with those numbers. As industry analyst Tim Deal told Jim, the move “(pulls) Apple further from its niche position in the market. Live video instant messaging will grow in popularity and become relatively common over the next few years, and Apple is poised to benefit substantially from its integration with the AIM network.”
And because iChat AV is built on, and able to take advantage of, standards-based technology, it will scale nicely to multi-party connections, “the next big thing” in video conferencing. So you on the road, your spouse at home, and your parents in Phoenix will be able to share face-time simultaneously. And perhaps more importantly, you’ll be able to do the same with members of your work team, which means your choice of computer platform will become less of an issue at your office — you’ll be just another face at the table. Something we as Mac users can all look forward to.
iChat AV, AIM updates add Mac to PC video conferencing
Apple and America Online on Thursday announced the release of software updates that will enable users of the companies’ instant messaging applications to employ video conferencing between Macs and PCs. The updates, iChat AV Public Beta 2.1 for Macs and AIM 5.5 for Windows-based computer, are available immediately.
Apple CFO Anderson to retire June 1
Apple Bluetooth driver update supports printer, headsets
Visit MacCentral’s Apple Hardware and Apple Software forums.
ATI announces Mobility Radeon 9700
ATI Technologies on Tuesday introduced its Mobility Radeon 9700 graphics processor — the latest generation of the same type of graphics chip found in Apple’s PowerBook G4. ATI, which touts the chip as the first low-k graphics solution for notebooks, claims the new card will work at up to a 30 percent faster clock speed than the Mobility Radeon 9600, and offer longer battery life.
Kyocera offers Contax SL300R T* digital camera
MicroNet ships PlatinumRAID; designed for creative pros
IBM merges chip, server groups
BTI intros high-capacity external iPod battery
Visit MacCentral’s Hardware forum.
Final Cut Express updates interface, sync issues, more
Apple has released Final Cut Express 2.0.2, an update to its mid-range video editing software. The release adds changes to the user interface and window displays, documentation, and user preferences; and fixes for issues with audio and video syncing through FireWire, Timeline editing functionality, and capturing long clips.
Backup 2 reliability improved, new .Mac games offered
ScreenTime for Flash updated for Panther, Flash MX 04
Ambrosia releases Snapz Pro X 2.0
OmniWeb 5.0 browser Beta available
eTuner helps musicians tune with Macs
Visit MacCentral’s Software forum.
Around the Web
Apple touts Quicktime for cell phones
Frank Casanova, senior director of Apple’s Core Media Group, spends a good deal of time in Asia meeting with telcos and evangelizing for adoption of the company’s QuickTime multimedia architecture (and the QT-based MPEG-4 format) in 3G cell phones. And he says he’s meeting with success: “Twelve new products are being shipped everyday with QuickTime in the box…More than 200 digital devices are also using (it).”
Where do microprocessors come from?
Reuniting iPhoto libraries in iPhoto4
First Sony Blu-Ray recorder sales scheduled for May (23.3GB capacity)
Is a URL the same as a hyperlink in law?
Xserve offers users power, choice in a ‘dream machine’
Visit MacCentral’s Lounge forum.