Apple and Video Conferencing

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Does anyone think Apple could/should pull off a slick video conference tool for the Mac?

I'm talking about a complete solution, including a Firewire based webcam + iChat software with a design that is very straightforward and simple like the other iApps.



Do you think this would be a good venture for Apple? I know a lot of people with PCs who do alot of video conferencing, but they don't know of any solutions on the Mac and OS X.

Discuss
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    applenutapplenut Posts: 5,768member
    With QT Broadcaster they are practically there.



    Just no cam.
  • Reply 3 of 32
    Microsoft's whiteboard software was buried in previous versions of the OS, now it's more accessible...and more likely to be used with ubiquitous broadband becoming more of a possiblity in metropolitan areas. A consumer-level app would deliver the necessary WHAMMO power to make it B-I-G.



    And yeah, I think Apple's involvement would push the technology to the forefront instead of leaving it to the adventurous shopper with a couple hundred bucks burning a hole in his pocket.



    Just my opinion.



    D
  • Reply 4 of 32
    I agree Drew. I think if Apple put as much effort and marketing into iChat and iCam. (or whatever you wanna call it) as they have into iTunes and iPod, that video conferencing would be pushed to the forefront as part of the digital hub and PC vendors would be scrambling to offer a solution that has Apple's elegance and power...
  • Reply 5 of 32
    applenutapplenut Posts: 5,768member
    [quote]Originally posted by Tarbash:

    <strong>I agree Drew. I think if Apple put as much effort and marketing into iChat and iCam. (or whatever you wanna call it) as they have into iTunes and iPod, that video conferencing would be pushed to the forefront as part of the digital hub and PC vendors would be scrambling to offer a solution that has Apple's elegance and power...</strong><hr></blockquote>



    only problem is the rarity of macs.



    ie: I have a mac with this awesome feature but none of my relatives do. what good is it?



    unfortunately it would likely have to be a cross platform solution
  • Reply 6 of 32
    Knowing Apple it would only work with firewire cams.
  • Reply 7 of 32
    Since when does Apple care about cross-platform? Look at the iPod. Apple actually believes people will buy a Mac because they want to own this MP3 player.



    I've said that Apple should be getting into personal vidcons for a while now,, and I think that people (read: kids) will get a computer just for this feature. In Christmas 2001 a friend asked if I could help her buy a computer for her teenage daughter just because she wanted to do videoconferencing with her friends. The solution we came up with was an iMacDV, an iBot WebCam and AIM. $1400 just so she could see jerky images of her friends on her screen while she talked with them on the phone!



    I expect QT6/Broadcaster to be a sort of prosumer app, but I really wish it would have Apple's famous "iApp" ease-of-use so even kids can use it. I guess we'll see when the lawyers work things out.
  • Reply 8 of 32
    gordygordy Posts: 951member
    The only reason I don't think this will happen is because there doesn't seem to be a free network for video conferencing. Maybe with the adoption of MPEG 4, open networks for video conferencing will pop up.



    For now, it seems that each video conferencing app has a proprietary network, not available to users using other apps.



    But I think a iPod-like camera is on the horizon. Maybe it'll plug into the 'ol pod for a HD based video camera solution.
  • Reply 9 of 32
    applenutapplenut Posts: 5,768member
    [quote]Originally posted by Michael Grey:

    <strong>Since when does Apple care about cross-platform? Look at the iPod. Apple actually believes people will buy a Mac because they want to own this MP3 player.

    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    Hello? did you read my post?



    What good is the video conferencing if NO ONE ELSE HAS IT. I don't know about you but nearly all my friends and family have PCs. Having an iapp that video conferences isn't going to do shit if no one else has it
  • Reply 10 of 32
    Doesn't MSN Messenger for Windows have NetMeeting bundled with it (which has Video Conferencing)
  • Reply 11 of 32
    Well, simple then. Make it a cross-platform initiative, like QuickTime... (hint hint, QT will be the centerpiece of this initiative )
  • Reply 12 of 32
    wmfwmf Posts: 1,164member
    NetMeeting uses a standard protocol called H.323. If Apple released an H.323-compatible iConference, it could talk to NetMeeting and even high-end Polycom stuff.



    The only camera I like is the KritterDigital, and it's really expensive; it would be nice to see Apple get into that business.
  • Reply 13 of 32
    applenut, did you read my post? I don't think Apple is interested in making its apps/hardware cross-platform because they are hoping to drive people to Macs.



    Yea, most of my friends have PCs, too. And when the iPod came out they said 'hey, that's great, too bad it only works with Macs.' And does Apple care? Nope.



    Apple brags about how easy it is to use the Mac-exclusive 'iApps,' hoping to attract more people to the Mac platform. So what makes you think that a vidcon app would be cross-platform?
  • Reply 14 of 32
    applenutapplenut Posts: 5,768member
    [quote]Originally posted by Michael Grey:

    <strong>applenut, did you read my post? I don't think Apple is interested in making its apps/hardware cross-platform because they are hoping to drive people to Macs.



    Yea, most of my friends have PCs, too. And when the iPod came out they said 'hey, that's great, too bad it only works with Macs.' And does Apple care? Nope.



    Apple brags about how easy it is to use the Mac-exclusive 'iApps,' hoping to attract more people to the Mac platform. So what makes you think that a vidcon app would be cross-platform?</strong><hr></blockquote>



    my my. you don't get it.



    having an iPod mac only is a little different than having a messenger mac only. an iPod is for single person use. it does not need to interact with others. you don't need two people or 2 macs to make it work. there is absolutely no similarity here between video conferencing and the iPod. none at all.



    If iConference or whatever it would be called was mac only people simply would not use it and Apple would be dumping money into something used by a minority of users. it would not be worth it.
  • Reply 15 of 32
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    Is it possible to use a miniDV cam as a web cam. No one would buy it for this use, but if you already got one, then why not?



    I think the bit-rate is a little high for video-conferencing though. There would have to be a way to aquire a less demanding bit-stream on the fly.



    Another solution might be to get rid of MiniDV altogether and use Cameras that record directly to MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 or even quicktime (as in many still cameras).



    A DVD quality MPEG-2 stream has about half the bit rate of miniDV. But because the compression is so good, I don't think anyone can argue that their miniDV tapes look better than a studio DVD.



    Sony has started using an alternative digital format, MicroMV. It records directly to MPEG 2 format (or MPEG 4) and is ready to use without any time consuming encoding. I'm pretty sure Apple's iMovie software can only acquire DV data streams, but it'd be a great boost if it could acquire ready to use MPEG2. The camera's already done the encoding so you don't have to waste time.



    But what does this have to do with the topic at hand? iCamera. What if Apple used one of those nice tiny 1.8" HDDs in a small camera that could store or feed your mac a choice of MPEG2/4 or quicktime streams? Something very small, about the size of two iPods lying side by side, and a little thicker. A decent optical zoom, all inclosed using prisms -- take a look at the minolta X. no tapes, just a small and durable, pocketable video camera with at least 2HRs of internal MPEG2 storage.



    (maybe a 10 or 20GB version, but even 5GB ought to be enough for a couple of hours of high bit rate MPEG2)



    Sell it with a little clip that mounts it to the top of an iMac or Apple display.



    Use a QT based vid conferencing app. Now you have the perfect travel/family camcorder that doubles as a web-cam vid conferencing device.
  • Reply 16 of 32
    [quote]If iConference or whatever it would be called was mac only people simply would not use it and Apple would be dumping money into something used by a minority of users. it would not be worth it. <hr></blockquote>



    I don't get it? You're right applenut. iMovie, iTunes, iDVD, iPhoto...all Mac-only software and all a huge waste of Apple's money since no one uses them. <img src="graemlins/oyvey.gif" border="0" alt="[No]" />
  • Reply 17 of 32
    stevessteves Posts: 108member
    [quote]Originally posted by Tarbash:

    <strong>Does anyone think Apple could/should pull off a slick video conference tool for the Mac?

    I'm talking about a complete solution, including a Firewire based webcam + iChat software with a design that is very straightforward and simple like the other iApps.



    Do you think this would be a good venture for Apple? I know a lot of people with PCs who do alot of video conferencing, but they don't know of any solutions on the Mac and OS X.

    Discuss </strong><hr></blockquote>



    For those that don't remember, for Apple, this is another case of "been there, done that."



    <a href="http://product.info.apple.com/pr/press.releases/1996/q4/960807.pr.rel.qtc-win.html"; target="_blank">http://product.info.apple.com/pr/press.releases/1996/q4/960807.pr.rel.qtc-win.html</a>;



    <a href="http://product.info.apple.com/pr/press.releases/1996/q4/960807.pr.rel.qtc-win.html"; target="_blank">Old Apple Press Release</a>



    At the time, there just wasn't a market for it. Converencing was really only practical in the office environment where high bit rates were available. Apple wasn't and still isn't big in the office environment.



    However, the interesting question is whether or not Apple will revisit this sort of solution based on the better quality and lower bit rate Mpeg4 solutions. It's also more feasible now that more home users have cable modems and DSL, etc.



    Steve
  • Reply 18 of 32
    Michael Grey, I tend to agree with Applenut. Telephones are so valuable precisely because everyone has them. Everyone. Which means you can call anyone.



    An iPod is a standalone device. Standalone devices are an entirely different game. iPhones need to interact with as many people as possible. And when Apple has a roughly 5% marketshare, that means interoperating with PCs.



    No one is going to buy an iPhone to only talk to the three other people who have them.



    If Apple, for example, came up with a cell-phone like device, or fax-machine-esque device, but instead of using standards, used it's own protocol, which would you rather buy? A cell phone, with which you can call anyone, or an Applephone, with which you can only call other Applephones?



    The communications industry is all about ubiquity. When no one has a phone, it makes no sense to have a phone. Who are you going to call?



    When everyone has a phone, you're not buying the hardware, you're buying the ability to talk to anyone from the comfort of your home.
  • Reply 19 of 32
    applenutapplenut Posts: 5,768member
    [quote]Originally posted by Michael Grey:

    <strong>



    I don't get it? You're right applenut. iMovie, iTunes, iDVD, iPhoto...all Mac-only software and all a huge waste of Apple's money since no one uses them. <img src="graemlins/oyvey.gif" border="0" alt="[No]" /> </strong><hr></blockquote>



    you're an arrogant goon.



    none of those are interactive. none of those talk to 2 different people. they are single user apps.



    how lame are you?
  • Reply 20 of 32
    /me digs in pocket, grabs handful of chill-pills, hands them out.
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