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