The External iSight Mystery

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I have been scouring the Internet in an attempt to find answers to the external iSight mystery.

Video Conference Requirements

Lets start by reviewing a checklist of the things that are required for a successful 4-way video conference using iChat:

  1. Participants need Mac computers running iChat.
  2. 500-1500 Kbps Internet connection (more bandwidth needed to initiate the conference).

That should do it. It is not as difficult as many think!

Story Time

Now that you have everything required, lets get started with a conference.

Hello Gary, Kate, and Sidney -- thank you for joining me in this video conference to discuss merging calls on the iPhone. What? You can't see me? Oh, that's right, this computer doesn't have a built in iSight camera. I had a feeling that checklist on AppleHound was missing something important. I need to run over to my local Apple store to get an external model, please continue without me.

This is where things get tricky. They are out of stock. The sales people answer questions about the next shipment like this: "We don't know when or if we will get more", "I want one as well", and "You could look around online".

Browsing to conveniently redirects to the Mac accessories page where you will find... nothing to do with the external iSight.

Who Uses the iSight Anyway?

A lot of people! Performing a few Google and eBay searches revealed individuals paying the full retail price for used iSight cameras. Also, many postings discuss how Mac owners prefer the stylish design of this product over the typical tennis ball shaped webcam.

Steve Jobs appears to enjoy showing off the advanced video conferencing features of iChat. During his WWDC 2007 keynote address on 6/11/2007 he and Phil Schiller reviewed the new iChat features in Leopard. Steve's camera of choice? An external iSight.

Answers to the Mystery

Nope, not here. There does not appear to be an official end of life announcement from Apple for the iSight camera. The staff at the Apple store are not aware if it has been discontinued.

When compared to the Mac and iPhone, the iSight seems like a relatively simple product to develop and sell. Perhaps Apple had to borrow some of the key iSight developers and QA staff to work on the iPhone project.

Along with many Mac enthusiasts, we continue to hold out hope that Apple has a surprise iSight in the works.


hollywood mac guy said:

it is very interesting that the iSight does not seem to be discontinued, yet Apple stores no longer seem to carry it. on a related note, there have been rumors swirling for months (as they seem to do for most apple products!) about new, redesigned apple cinema displays that will supposedly have built-in iSights when they are finally released. anyone have any new insights (pun not intended) into when those new displays might finally make an appearance or if there actually is a new iSight in the works?

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