It has become very apparent to anyone wanting one: It’s not that easy to purchase an “Apple iSight” firewire webcam. The former URL Apple.com/isight redirects to a general Mac accessories page. Only two items remain on the Apple.com page related to iSight accessories. Last Thursday, Patrick Ragsdale, rexblog director of hackology, was told by an Apple reseller that their company had been officially notified by Apple that the iSight camera model previously sold is officially retired. A search on eBay shows that used iSights are getting a premium. And on Amazon, the cameras are only available from resellers who are listing the price of a new iSight camera for $550, twice Apple’s price.
With such demand, why has the “firewire” iSight camera been discontinued? One obvious reason is that an iSight camera is now built into MacBooks and iMacs and new Apple monitors are expected to include them. Indeed, one of the current “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” commercials is dedicated to touting the built-in iSight camera. However, there is still a need for an iSight camera that is independent from a MacBook or monitor. The one I have sitting on the top of my monitor is not only great for a face-to-face video chat, but also for swinging around so that someone can monitor the notes being written on a white board on the wall across from my desk. It is very apparent Apple doesn’t believe the only direction someone wants to point a camera is towards ones face as the camera on the new iPhone is pointed in the opposite direction.
So what gives?
My prediction — or more correctly, my wild guess — is that we’re about to hear an announcement of the #6 rumor on my “All the Apple rumors you’ll ever need“: A wireless iSight camera. I predict it will utilize 80211n and will work seamlessly with the new Apple Airport Extreme and a lot of Macs already sold that, for a $2 ‘unlock fee’ have 80211n. Perhaps an 80211n iSight camera could also work with the AppleTV so that you could stream video from the camera directly onto your HDTV (currently, the only feature of the AppleTV is the streaming of content from iTunes). A camera such as an 80211n wireless iSight camera with the proper type of power supply (the current iSight is powered by the computer via its firewire connection) could be used in a myriad of ways. For example an airport extreme (perhaps with a Mac mini) and a few wireless iSight cameras could be packaged as a powerful, yet comparatively low-cost video survelliance system.