Apple’s Macs Bid iSight Goodbye, Welcome FaceTime HD (And Low-Def FaceTime)
Leaked packaging from Apple’s new MacBook Pro computers confirms a change that has been a long time in coming: Apple is officially changing the names of its built-in Mac cameras from “iSight” to “FaceTime,” and it’s also creating a new distinction: “FaceTime” versus “FaceTime HD.”
The first change actually didn’t take that long—Apple only introduced FaceTime for Macs in October of last year. But the second change, by which it acknowledges that some Macs have better cameras inside than others, is years in the making. Apple started to sneak higher-resolution cameras into some of its Mac computers three years ago without advertising the change. Old iSights used 640x480 resolution, just like FaceTime on the iPhone 4 and iPod touch 4G. But newer iSights—at least, some of them—more than quadruple the resolution to 1280x1024, or 1.3 Megapixels. Apple builds the better iSights into most of its computers, but not the MacBook Air, a shortcoming of the smaller laptop that the company hasn’t been keen to publicize up until now.
New MacBook Pro boxes show that Apple is going to refer to the Mac’s built-in camera as “FaceTime HD,” which we can guess will be the same as the underpublicized 1280x1024 better iSight cameras—just a marketing and name change. Yes, it’s possible (and possibly great!) that Apple would use this as an opportunity to upgrade Mac cameras across the board, potentially just improved-sensitivity backlit sensors that would perform better in dimly-lit rooms, or maybe even a significantly higher resolution sensor with a better lens, like the ones in Logitech’s Mac-ready HD Pro Webcam C910. Any of these changes would make indoor video calling over FaceTime considerably better than it is now.
We’ll know soon enough what Apple really means by “FaceTime HD,” but we’re not expecting radical improvements. Apple has so prioritized thinness in its recent designs that improved camera performance—which often depends upon having more room inside an enclosure in order to add autofocus capabilities, get better sensors, and the like—has always been a distant second or third priority. Expect FaceTime HD to become Apple’s new ceiling for front-facing video camera performance, and for the ceiling to stay in place for a while; giving select iOS devices similar capabilities will be the next logical step.
If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods or accessories, or if you sell or market products, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators. Wondering why we're talking about something other than iPods? Check the Archives: Backstage has been here and kicking it since 2004.
- Apple to drop first-gen Apple TV, iPod classic support as of Sept 8th
- New Apple TV to feature motion sensitive remote
- Media companies balk at $40/mo. plan for Apple TV service
- Former Beats Music CEO Ian Rogers leaves Apple
- Apple partners with PayAnywhere for Apple Pay
- Report: iPhone 6S to retain 16GB base model
- Apple sends out invites to September 9 event
- iPhone 6S to get front flash mode? (Update: Rose Gold color on the way)
- Report: iPhone 6S to support Motion wallpapers
- Rumor: iPhone 6S Plus to have smaller battery, packaging revealed?
- Tech21 Evo Mesh Sport for iPhone 6 and Evo Elite for iPhone 6 Plus
- Thonet & Vander Koloss Bluetooth Speaker
- iHome iSP5 SmartPlug
- Spigen Apple Watch Nightstand S350
- DODOcase Lorna iPhone Wallet Case for iPhone 6 Plus
- SwitchEasy Blocks Customizable Dock Building Set for Apple Watch
- DODOcase Maritime Collection Multi-Angle Case for iPad Air 2
- Kanex iPhone ChargeSync Dock for iPhone 6 + iPhone 6 Plus
- Onanoff Sound Cover for iPad Air + iPad Air 2
- Native Union Clic 360 for iPhone 6
- A First Look at iOS 9’s Transit in Apple Maps (Updated for watchOS 2)
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iTunes 12.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 8.4 + Apple Music
- CE Week 2015: IK Multimedia, Monowear’s Apple Watch bands + More
- Live From CE Week 2015: Brand New iPad, iPhone + Mac Accessories!
- Opinion: The ‘Grand Experiment’ of shifting to Google Photos
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?