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We recovered iSight, Apple’s first webcam

We return for another week with Apple Vintage, a section in which we will travel to the past with the intention of paying a small tribute to the products that Apple has been launching throughout its history. Today we’ll go back to 2003 to talk about iSight, the camera that was conceived as the ideal complement to iChat, and ended up becoming a true reference point for the competition.

We are back, one more week, in Apple Vintage, the retro section of Applesupportphonenumber in which we will recover the products that have marked the evolution of Apple to become the company we all know today. Today we will open the trunk of memories to dust off the iSight, the external video call camera that for a long time, observed from a privileged position its competitors.

We recovered iSight, Apple’s first webcam
We recovered iSight, Apple’s first webcam

The first iSight camera, which had been designed for use with iChat , was presented at the 2003 WWDC; in addition to being supported by Apple’s famous messaging client, iMovie 4 – and later versions – was also capable of using it as a video capture device.

What were his assets? Among other things, its very simple installation and no configuration process: you only needed a FireWire 400 port on your computer to start enjoying it. Furthermore, was not only compatible with OS X , but also with Windows and Linux.

The $149 it cost when it was released contrasted sharply with the prices of contemporary cameras, but while the image quality provided by the iSight was unparalleled.

As with most bitten apple products, the iSight was notable for its elegant and attractive design , whose aluminium casing – which, incidentally, set its weight at 63.8 grams – was barely out of step with the PowerBook’s metal body.

It also had a series of accessories that provided the user with up to three different mounting options : a magnetic base for attaching it to metal surfaces, a plastic base suitable for eMac and desktops, and a clamp designed for laptops.

As far as features are concerned, the webcam was trying to stand out from its competitors by focusing on more than just features: 14 inch CCD sensor with VGA resolution -640×480 pixel-, lens with maximum aperture f2. 8 , exposure control and autofocus , video capture at 30 frames per second 24-bit color , and so on.

Finally, it should be noted that it had internal microphones with noise suppression , which had a very positive effect on the quality of the captured audio.

After receiving several firmware updates , aimed at refining certain aspects such as audio performance, in December 2006 Apple decided to remove it from both the Apple Online Store and the other authorized retail outlets . Since then, the term iSight has been used to refer to the built-in camera in iMacs, MacBooks, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and even the Apple Cinema Display. As of 2010, these will be called FaceTime cameras, while iSight will continue to be used to describe the rear camera of the latest generations of iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

It is understandable that, in an era when monitors, laptops, tablets and smartphones have their own integrated cameras with high definition recording, external cameras have lost their reason for being and that, therefore, in Cupertino they have preferred to keep in memory what once was a clear reference in its segment.

Before we say goodbye for today, we leave you with an extensive photo gallery courtesy of the Shrine Of Apple website.

In 7 days we’ll continue our unique review of Apple’s successful history. Don’t miss it! If you’d like us to dust off a particular product or if you have one at home that you’d like us to include in future deliveries, we invite you to share it with us.

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