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Old Oct 20, 2010, 04:57 PM   #1
SkippyThorson
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FaceTime Vs. iSight Cameras

So I noticed that Steve kept saying that the new MacBook Air shipped with the FaceTime camera. I was wondering about this all day long, so I have to ask now.

On the Notebook comparison page of Apple.com, it even notes that they are 2 different features. What on earth is the difference?

Does the new FaceTime program only work on the Air? Is it a better quality camera? Maybe it's just that they wanted to drop the iSight name, and bring FaceTime to the computer audience?
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Old Oct 20, 2010, 05:56 PM   #2
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Just a rebranding of the camera. Smart marketing.
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Old Oct 20, 2010, 05:59 PM   #3
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Still trying to figure out how FaceTime is different from iChat.
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Old Oct 20, 2010, 06:02 PM   #4
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Still trying to figure out how FaceTime is different from iChat.
I suspect at a future date they'll integrate the two into one cohesive app, but it was probably too difficult to do code-wise at this point.
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Old Oct 20, 2010, 06:03 PM   #5
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Still trying to figure out how FaceTime is different from iChat.
It's just a stand-alone app specifically for facetime. It probably means that iChat is a dead or dying product now.
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Old Oct 20, 2010, 06:05 PM   #6
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facetime is self-contained video calling app. ichat is a chat, voice/video client. i would guess as was stated above, that the two will merge at some point.
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Old Oct 20, 2010, 06:07 PM   #7
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My take is that they probably realized that the major reason anyone uses iChat is to use videoconferencing. If you just want IM, you probably use another IM client.

Since they've put major investment in the name "FaceTime" for videoconferencing, and separated it from IM, they might as well have a separate interface for FaceTime.

Whether iChat disappears or not, I don't know.
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Old Oct 20, 2010, 06:29 PM   #8
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Yet iChat does videoconferencing better as it allows for sharing of files and desktop. FaceTime does not do those things, it simply is videochat, period. It seems more likely they'll change iChat by using FaceTime for videochatting and everything else from iChat so you can exchange files and share your desktop. FaceTime seems to be a better videochatting "protocol" (it actually uses several protocols).
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Old Oct 20, 2010, 06:29 PM   #9
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well, iChat and Facetime seem to both be fundamentally based on SIP so merging the two shouldn't be a problem.

Ideally though, Apple did say they wanted to make Facetime an open standard so in the future there could be facetime clients for anything with a webcam (including windows laptops for example).

Personally, I'm more interested in how it performs over low bandwidth compared to say skype video.
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Old Oct 20, 2010, 06:41 PM   #10
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I have only used a Macbook Pro with Skype. I don't just use it for a video call to see faces.

I have used it while working on a car to show a particular problem.

I have used it to show a house I'm interested in buying.

I have used it to show weather conditions while boating when I can get a connection.

The iSight camera does this well. Is the new camera only good for faces while you chat?

That's all.
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Old Oct 20, 2010, 06:44 PM   #11
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Still trying to figure out how FaceTime is different from iChat.

Naked iChat sounds so lame.
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Old Oct 20, 2010, 06:50 PM   #12
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They'll probably merge in Mac OS X 10.7. Or Apple could be nice and ship a new version of iChat in a 10.6 update.
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Old Oct 20, 2010, 08:37 PM   #13
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Naked iChat sounds so lame.
Don't knock it til you try it.
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Old Oct 20, 2010, 10:23 PM   #14
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I agree with the confusion suggested by the OP.

Please note that his question is NOT facetime vs. ichat its facetime camera vs. isight camera. On the comparison page, they could have easily rebranded all cameras to facetime cameras if they are actually the same thing.

Can anyone who HAS a new macbook air confirm that it IS IN FACT AN ISIGHT CAMERA?
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Old Oct 20, 2010, 11:01 PM   #15
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that the two will merge at some point.
Ehem. Lion?
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Old Oct 21, 2010, 03:42 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbg232 View Post
I agree with the confusion suggested by the OP.

Please note that his question is NOT facetime vs. ichat its facetime camera vs. isight camera. On the comparison page, they could have easily rebranded all cameras to facetime cameras if they are actually the same thing.

Can anyone who HAS a new macbook air confirm that it IS IN FACT AN ISIGHT CAMERA?
This is the first time I've checked back since I made the thread. This got off-track rather quickly. No problem though.

As stated earlier, it may just be a slight rebranding of the feature's name, but as quoted here, they could have just rebranded everything if that was the case. There must me something setting them apart.

My first thought was quality. Is there a resolution or frame-rate difference perhaps?
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Old Oct 21, 2010, 07:22 PM   #17
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called apple support

so i just called apple business support and asked if the new macbook air has the same camera as the isight camera on the macbook pro. he didn't know the answer at first, then he messaged someone to get the details. they said that the camera on the new macbook air is actually better then the old isight camera's. however he said that when using facetime the camera down converts the video quality. then i asked if you use skype or other video recording the quality will be better then the old isight camera's? and he said yes.

this is comming straight from 1800 my apple

so if this is not correct, we know who to blame.
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Old Oct 22, 2010, 01:44 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kans4s View Post
so i just called apple business support and asked if the new macbook air has the same camera as the isight camera on the macbook pro. he didn't know the answer at first, then he messaged someone to get the details. they said that the camera on the new macbook air is actually better then the old isight camera's. however he said that when using facetime the camera down converts the video quality. then i asked if you use skype or other video recording the quality will be better then the old isight camera's? and he said yes.

this is comming straight from 1800 my apple

so if this is not correct, we know who to blame.
Thank you for taking the time out to do that. Very much appreciated. I'd sure love it if Apple put up a page highlighting the new camera compared to the old, but for now, your research has more than settled my mind. Thanks!
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Old Oct 22, 2010, 01:51 AM   #19
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My thoughts are that the 1-800-MYAPPLE rep may have just been fed some random BS to pacify you.

Until I see one "in the flesh" I'm going to have to assume with the first poster, that it was just a clever rebranding to push FaceTime, seeing as the Air is being marketed as this ultraportable blend between iPad and Mac it would be natural for it to have key words that their superportable (iPod and iPhone) devices do.

It's all about buzzwords, and currently FaceTime is the buzzword of choice.
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Old Oct 22, 2010, 12:40 PM   #20
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ifixit

ifixit dot com took apart the new macbook air. but the only thing they didn't take out was the new facetime camera out of the screen.

it would most likely be very easy for the ifixit crew to take out the new camera and compare it to the isight camera's so we can get more of a technical explanation.
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Old Oct 22, 2010, 10:20 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdowns View Post
Naked iChat sounds so lame.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zo1OLvizOWA
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Old Nov 1, 2010, 07:04 PM   #22
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identical as far as I can tell

I know I'm late to the party here, but this is what I can figure out by comparing my 2008 Aluminum Macbook with iSight camera, to my 2010 11.6" Macbook Air with Facetime camera:

The cameras both output 640x480 in Photo Booth.
The quality looks identically mucky (on the Air) in both iChat and Facetime.
Both cameras produce video and photos in 4:3 ratio, but it is cropped however needed by software. I can discern no difference between the cameras. iMovie doesn't give me easy access to the technical info on the clips, but I can see that it is something less than 480i on both. I suspect it's about the same camera as the front camera on my iPhone.

From a software perspective, Facetime offers the benefit of being able to connect to a user on an iPhone or iPod, while iChat offers much more flexibility in every other way. Facetime offers access directly through your Address Book, while iChat requires adding to your buddy list.

Personally I would expect some kind of convergence of the apps- keep in mind that the standalone FaceTime app is in beta, and is integrated into the phone platform on the iPhone. It makes the most sense for Facetime to get added to iChat as one of the supported protocols, much like Aim etc, even if the standalone program (or integrated OS X function, e.g., part of Address Book) remains.
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Old Nov 1, 2010, 08:02 PM   #23
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iChat will be renamed to FaceTime eventually. Apple is probably waiting on the iPhone 5 to be released, to add features to FaceTime such as file sharing, etc. iChat will be old news around this time next year.
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Old Nov 1, 2010, 08:08 PM   #24
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Still trying to figure out how FaceTime is different from iChat.
1) "Facetime" is more easily recognizable and marketable to iOS users who never used a Mac (there are lots of them nowadays)

2) "Facetime" can be ported to windows as a standalone facetime client, without porting the whole iChat.

3) the whole "Facetime" creation (instead of just adding "iChat video calls" to iPhone 4) is about "brand neutrality", 'cause it's meant to be an open industry standard. i-Stuff is too much appleish.
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Old Nov 1, 2010, 08:10 PM   #25
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iChat will always exist (maybe as a different name). not just for video conferencing and for chatting (remember Apple has to support their MobileMe users), but also because lots of law firms and big businesses set up jabber servers and use iChat for inter-office communication, and as a software developer myself, i absolutely love the screen sharing functionality. i can connect to a client or customer and take control of their screen with absolutely zero set up or config, and no worrying about how their routers/network is setup. for all of these reasons, facetime will never replace ichat.

ichat and facetime will merge, probably when lion comes out, but i don't think people give ichat the credit it deserves -- it's a fantastic app.
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