Minutes after Apple announced its new iChat AV software and accompanying iSight camera, I was online placing my order. I had tried video conferencing before, but it never really lived up to its promise, with crummy video and sound quality, rediculous hoops to jump through with IP addresses, link negotiation, and other nonsense... it just wasn't worth it. Leave it to Apple to get it right! So far, only one of my friends has iSight, so I've only done limited testing with it, but I like what I see so far.
Set-up involves sticking the camera to the back of my Cinema Display and plugging it in. That's it. It took a total of two minutes, and iChat AV popped up the instant the camera was activated. I saw Meagan was online and had her iSight on (thanks to little icons next to your buddies that let you know if the person has audio or audio/video capability). One click and a window came up that allows you to see yourself, check camera position, comb your hair (well, not mine, but whatever!), and you're off.
Audio quality is excellent and video quality is likewise very impressive (especially considering you can blow the image up to ridiculous sizes and still have a pretty good picture, thanks to Apple's Quartz display rendering engine). The only problem seems to be with the camera white balance, which tends to run a little dark (or green under fluorescent light), but I'm sure Apple will fix this eventually (iChat AV is in beta and won't be finalized until later this year when MacOS X 1.3 Panther is released). p>
I've now ordered another couple of cameras for my home G4 Cube and my PowerBook, so I can be connected wherever I am with NO long distance charges! It's like something out of Star Trek! I highly recommend that anybody with a Mac and a broadband connection grab an iSight and see why e-mail is going to become obsolete for personal communications in the future. I just hope that spammers don't figure out a way to ruin iSight like they've done e-mail.