If you haven't followed the Mac news from yesterday, you're missing out on the most amazing new technology I've seen from Apple or anybody in a long time. it's called iChat A/V. And using the AIM IM protocol it enables voice and full duplex audio/video conferencing with plug and play ease. If someone has a video camera or microphone hooked up to their mac it shows this in your buddy list.
It's about 4:30pm in Japan as I type this and iChat A/V pops up in the corner of my screen with a phone like sound announcing that I have a call from another iChat A/V user — in Japan. That's right. My second experience with iChat, introduced just yesterday and available for a free download (beta version) from the Apple website. It's Joi. Making his second call. The audio quality is amazing. Both of us using simply the built-in microphone and speakers on our PowerBooks we could have a complete conversation with barely any delay, feedback or noise in full duplex mode. Audio quality is amazing though as time passes it slightly begins to deteriorate. But hell. This is beta. Wait till final release this summer. Joi and I chatted briefly, compared notes and both were blown away by the technology. This really changes the picture (pun intended) of instant chatting. Our local Apple store will be selling the Apple video camera iSight sometime this week. Though any DV Camcorder will work.