The iSight Express and the iSight Extreme

So, as you prob­a­bly know, we do a lot of iSight-enabled iChat AV ses­sions with Grand­ma. On our end, we have the iSight attached to an iBook on a wire­less net­work, so we just wan­der around after the boy (nee Grand­son) and Grand­ma watch­es. He can go to the base­ment, to the bed­room, or even out­side, and we can fol­low.

And yet, the iBook is unwieldy. In a moment of frus­tra­tion as I shift­ed the a-bit-more-than-warm iBook around on my knee while try­ing to keep the boy in frame, it occurred to me… this would be bet­ter if it were a video cam­era.

The iSight Express would be an iSight cam­era, a WiFi con­nec­tion, and two LCD pan­els back to back. It is okay if they are small, maybe 320 x 240. You point the cam­era at your sub­ject, and you see them in the LCD fac­ing you. They, in turn, see the oth­er end of the con­ver­sa­tion in the LCD fac­ing them. All of this gets sent via WiFi to your com­put­er, which is man­ag­ing the con­nec­tion.

The iSight Extreme is sim­i­lar, except that it is a full client on the net­work, nego­ti­at­ing its own IP address, and mak­ing its own con­nec­tions, no com­put­er need­ed.

If Apple isn’t work­ing on this yet, they should be.

Expose -> Dashboard -> Virtual Desktops?

Read­ing some stuff about Dash­board today, it occured to me what Apple’s next step will be.

Exposé, the tech­nol­o­gy that lets you zip apps off screen, or spread them out to see all win­dows, is very cool. Dash­board intro­duces a lay­er of (essen­tial­ly) desk acces­sories that nor­mal­ly resides off-screen, but zips on-screen at the touch of a but­ton.

The next log­i­cal step is to, at the touch of a but­ton, zip reg­u­lar appli­ca­tions on and off-screen, cre­at­ing vir­tu­al desk­tops, real­ly. So you’re work­ing on your woe­ful­ly piti­ful sin­gle 23″ LCD mon­i­tor, and you have Pho­to­shop tak­ing up all avail­able screen real estate. Sud­den­ly, on the left side of your screen, a lit­tle Mail.app icon starts to bounce. You care­less­ly hit F1 (for Screen 1, or you could hit Com­mand-Left Arrow to nav­i­gate vir­tu­al­ly geo­met­ri­cal­ly… or some­thing) and zip, your screen off to the left slides over, show­ing Mail and iCal or some­thing. You’ve got mail! And vir­tu­al desk­tops.

Of course, this would most­ly be use­ful for your XServe admins to zip from one machine to the next, or for (mytho-poet­i­cal) iPalm users to eke out more real estate from their 200 x 400 pix­el screens. Of course, you’d have to replace the F-Key with a sty­lus ges­ture, or maybe that Air-Force mind con­trol link.

Cool.

See: Dash­board II by Dave Hyatt and: Dash­board vs. Kon­fab­u­la­tor by John Gru­ber and: Mon­keys Con­trol Robot­ic Arm with Brain Implants