Apple PhotoBooth, so smart 12 Oct 2005

54 comments Latest by Doug

Damn that’s clever. Instead of integrating a flash into the new iMac, they said “hey, the screen is a flash!” So, before it takes your picture it flashes the screen white. How about that. Find out more about PhotoBooth and the iMac with iSight built in.

54 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Chris Harrison 12 Oct 05

Yeah, I agree with ya Jason… it’s darn clever alright.

Now, like the Apple fan-boy I am, I need to go clean up all of the drool off of my desk from the product announcements.

BTW… the new feature in iTunes, where you can download TV shows is way too cool. I got all three eps of ‘Lost: Season 2’ from iTunes today… Quality ain’t that bad. Esp. when you consider the cost ($1.99 an ep.)

Jan 12 Oct 05

The video with the announcements is online, and you especially have to see the bit where they put the apple remote next to windows media remote. It really is what apple is all about. Having less features is their greatest strength.

Dave Simon 12 Oct 05

I didn’t realize that it used the screen for a flash. That is very clever. Apple engineers are just on their game.

So, is PhotoBooth just a portrait taking app?

Noah 12 Oct 05

I’d be interested in seeing comparisons of photos taken with flashing the screen and not flashing it under different conditions.

My understanding, as I look at one right now is that LCDs don’t exactly throw off the light like a flash does.

Now, that said I’m sure it’s better than nothing but I wonder if this isn’t just a wee bit more cool tech gimmick than something functional.

sxates 12 Oct 05

“The video with the announcements is online, and you especially have to see the bit where they put the apple remote next to windows media remote. It really is what apple is all about. Having less features is their greatest strength.”

I’d just like to take this opportunity to point out an instance of Apple copying MS. I hear the reverse criticism so often I think we need to take a moment and ponder the significance here.

Yeah, that was nice. Maybe I can hear a little less “copying apple” nonsense in the future :)

sxates 12 Oct 05

Oh, one note on the remote comparison. This is hardly apples to apples (is there a pun there)?

MS MCE does television, not just viewing of files you already have. I would not want a 6 button remote for MCE (which I have and use daily). If I’m on channel 3 and want to go to channel 60, I don’t want to have to push a button 57 times to get there, I want to hit 6-0 and that be it. If I’m watching TV and want to pull up the Program Guide or switch to a recorded show, MCE has dedicated buttons for that task, and I don’t want to have to hop out and jump through a menu to go there.

I’m not an MS fanboy by any stretch, but the MCE remote is entirely appropriate for the application. Less buttons is not always better. Less buttons with less functionality is fine, but lets at least make a fair comparison then.

Aras Bilgen 12 Oct 05

“I don’t want to have to push a button 57 times to get there, I want to hit 6-0 and that be it”

Or you would scroll…

Kyle 12 Oct 05

Wow, great idea, Apple. As 2 week old convert, I only get more and more impressed with the moves Apple makes. I only wish they would offer a music subscription model on itunes alongside their 99 cent model.

Oh, and I love the idea of buying TV shows through itunes. What a great idea, I hope HBO teams up soon, would love to able to download Bill Maher, and a few other shows for 1.99. It’s got to be a better deal for HBO than the current cable subscription model?

mike swimm 12 Oct 05

Yeah the flash is clever but I thought the rest of the announcements today were surprisingly LAME. I am a huge fan of apple and I don’t think I have ever been less impressed with a product announcement.

sxates’s comment is right on, the remote has less buttons because ‘Front Row’ has about 5% of the features of WMC. Why would I have an imac in front of my couch if it doesn’t have TV capabilities? And you can only run it on a new imac? Ridiculous! I bet the guys on the WMC team at MS were laughing their asses of when they saw this piece of junk.

Buying TV episodes online? You have to be kidding me. It is one thing to buy music, but network television shows are either free via antenna or you are paying a huge amount for cable/satellite. I am sure the bittorrent sites will grind to a halt tonight - yeah right. Laughable.

And lastly the video ipod. Boooo! I have been totally agreeing with Steve’s very vocal stance about ipods being a horrible medium for video. He has been preaching that for over a year now. When I heard all the rumors about video ipods I naturally assumed that this new version would have been totally rethought and optimized. I was hoping for some type of small tablet, or thinking maybe a horizontally oriented form factor similar to the PSP. Instead Apple took probably the laziest option possible, which is both lame AND makes Jobs look like an idiot. I literally laughed out loud when I saw it.

All and all I was shocked by the half-baked junk they released today. And thier anti-press fascism is getting really old too. Most companies would die for the kind of fans that Apple has, yet they repeatedly abuse them. Maybe Apple was better off at 3% market share.

Anonymous Coward 12 Oct 05

I am a huge fan of apple

Sure you are.

Buying TV episodes online? You have to be kidding me.

You’re wrong, buddy. This will be huge.

Why would I have an imac in front of my couch if it doesn’t have TV capabilities?

Ever hear of dorm rooms or kids rooms?

Rimantas 12 Oct 05

remote has less buttons because ‘Front Row’ has about 5% of the features of WMC. Why would I have an imac in front of my couch if it doesn’t have TV capabilities?

I know why I would (I guess I will) have iMac in front of my couch with that lovel remote - it does not matter is this five or three percent of features WMC has as long as those six buttons implement 99% of features I need.

Mat 12 Oct 05

Buying TV episodes would be nice if they looked bigger than a postage stamp on your display, or if you didn’t have to squint to watch them on your 2.5” screen.

I’d think that beyond 10 minutes you would probably have a huge headache or have gone blind.

Of course you could buy the dock with video out and watch crappy quality TV on your TV.

mike swimm 12 Oct 05

Hey Anonymous,

I am writing this on my dual 1.8 G5 while working on my xserve-hosted website. And, if you are going to troll use your real name.

Check out the Front Row page when you get a chance. There isn’t a single mention of kids or dorms - this product isn’t being marketed strictly towards kids.

http://www.apple.com/imac/frontrow.html

Don Wilson 12 Oct 05

Indeed, very clever.

Danny Cohen 12 Oct 05

if you look at the tour of front row, there is a mention of

Do the math. Remote control + iMac G5 + the latest DVD = the most popular dorm room on the floor.

mike swimm 12 Oct 05

OK,

My point was comparing Front Row to WMC is kind of ridiculous. Of course it is easy to simplify the remote when you drop most of the features. The way Jobs presented implied superior design was the only factor - I thought that was kind of cheap.

And, the marketing of this product is not overwhelmingly teen/college heavy. One mention of “dorm” pages deep into the product section should prove that.

I was really excited to think apple would enter the ‘living room’ market as I would love to dump my Tivo, but this product is not even remotely exciting.

sxates 12 Oct 05

Mike, I think Apple will be moving into the living room soon—just not quite yet. A more thorough analysis of the issue:

http://sxates.com/articles/thoughts-on-applefront-row

Dave Simon 12 Oct 05

@Kyle -

Wow, for two weeks old, you are very well spoken. ;)

Brian 12 Oct 05

If they’d’ve put out a new PowerMac, I’d’ve bought one. Fucking shame.

Jaime Macias 12 Oct 05

What about panning, tilt, etc. If you have multiple people in the room or want to show someone something moving the computer is gonna get annoying.

JM

Kyle 13 Oct 05

@Dave Simon

Thanks, but you ought to see how well spoken my 1 week old has become. ;-)

Ian Lloyd 13 Oct 05

Personally, I am loving the whole Front Row thing - it looks the business and I’d love to use the iMac in the living room like this (got to buy one first, mind!). Only problem is that it’s still in *addition* to TV, not a replacement. Windows Media Centre can integrate and offer the TV functionality, but not Front Row. Or at least not yet. I’d love to have somethig like that iMac as my main focal point instead of the telly

Ruminator 13 Oct 05

Can’t you just buy an EyeTV to make the new iMac the ultimate living room accessory?

the dingo warrior 13 Oct 05

The rumors of an Airport Express Video had me excited. I am pretty sure a properly outfitted computer could broadcast a short range HD video signal to a box ala audio that a modern TV could tap into. Or maybe not… but it sounded cool and your living room wouldn’t have to share space with both a TV & computer. It seems the iPod is becoming more “hubbish” in tandem with the desktop… Just tired of iPod news…

Sebhelyesfarku 13 Oct 05

The typical overhyped Apple crap with gimmicks and RDF. Blinking screen, infrared remote to control a couple of scripts controlling iTunes et al. wow. Give me a break. 320x240 video and the iPoo still can’t play music gaplessly with graphic equaliser. LOL

Jason 13 Oct 05

For people comparing WMC to Frontrow, remember that Jobs has always stated that he doesn’t believe in the convergence of TV and computers. I’m actually pretty surprised he went as far as letting Frontrow get out the door.

Anyway, I don’t think you’ll see a Mac OS X Media Edition anytime soon.

Dan H 13 Oct 05

iMac: “a sensor detects the room’s ambient light and adjusts the sleep light to match”

Cool. My dad complains about his eMac waking him up & had to put a post-it over the glowing light area.

Darrel 13 Oct 05

I was thrilled about the TV downloads. A brilliant idea. Alas, a brilliant idea crippled by a shitty format. One of the great things about shows like LOST is the HD scenery. 320x240 just isn’t going to cut it.

320x240 video and the iPoo still can’t play music gaplessly with graphic equaliser. LOL

LOL APPLE SUCKS BECAUSE THEY DON’T HAVE THIS ONE SPECIFIC FEATURE THAT I CARE ABOUT MORE THAN ANYTHING!

Darrel 13 Oct 05

I was really excited to think apple would enter the ‘living room’ market as I would love to dump my Tivo, but this product is not even remotely exciting.

Apple has been smart as of late to not try and compete with the commodity market. TiVO and MCE already have a large market share and while I’m sure Apple could do it better, I’m sure Jobs is more focused on doing it differently, so to circumvent that specific market.

Will 13 Oct 05

For people comparing WMC to Frontrow, remember that Jobs has always stated that he doesn’t believe in the convergence of TV and computers. I’m actually pretty surprised he went as far as letting Frontrow get out the door.

Anyway, I don’t think you’ll see a Mac OS X Media Edition anytime soon.

Jason, very true, but you have to also remember Steve Jobs vehemently denied plans to move the iPod towards video as well. Not only denied, but really talked about how he didn’t think that was the right direction to move in.

I have a feeling we’ll see a “Media Edition” Mac sooner than you think…

Scott 13 Oct 05

“Or you would scroll…”

Yeah, if only the remote had a scroll wheel.

Joe 13 Oct 05

If you notice, the reason the remote has so few buttons is that a lot of the functionality has been pushed into the UI of FrontRow. So whereas a typical remote might just have a button to jump directly to “Music”, the Apple remote makes you select “Music” from an onscreen menu.

Thus, in regards to changing channels… I would imagine it might be something like how those comcast digital cable boxes work, where you press the channel guide button and then select the channel you want to watch from an onscreen list.

Matt 14 Oct 05

Noah wrote:

My understanding, as I look at one right now is that LCDs don’t exactly throw off the light like a flash does.

Totally agree with this. The amount of light from a flash is many times greater than the amount light an LCD can give off. My guess - without having seen it work - is that this has as much to do with feedback / ergonomics (like the camera noise when doing a Command-Shift+3 screengrab) than providing a functional Flash. Although of course, any light is better than nothing when taking stills in a darkened room.

Rob 14 Oct 05

Will wrote:

Jason, very true, but you have to also remember Steve Jobs vehemently denied plans to move the iPod towards video as well. Not only denied, but really talked about how he didn’t think that was the right direction to move in.

That’s true but one of the main reasons he didn’t want to go that direction was lack of content. Apple practically own the new online music market by providing great content through iTunes and great hardware to play it on. It’s really just an extension of the music model. It’s one thing having an iRiver or PSP that can handle video but it’s a more involved process to get content on and use it than buy it on iTunes, play it on your pc/mac and dump it to your iPod. It’s tv shows on demand and I think it’s going to be huge. Then again there are going to be loads of people who hate it… and that’s cool too. If you like it use it, if you don’t, look for something you do.

Ben 14 Oct 05

If I recall, the ipod started as a very, very simple mp3 player. It did one thing, but did it very well. Features and services have been incrementally added to it, along with a killer marketing message, making it the success it is now. I suspect Apple is doing the same thing with Front Row, but from a reversed perspective. The ipod started with hardware and built itself up with software. I think the video portion of Apple’s business will start with software (Front Row, iTunes Video downloads) and expand later with hardware. After all, considering Apple’s uphill challenge against Tivo et al. its much easier/cheaper to test the waters with software that is simpler to produce than to float a new, untried hardware platform.

Personally, I expect to see Front Row show up on other products as well. If it does well, and we start to see the video section of the iTMS take off, I’d start to look for Apple to move more aggressively into hardware.

Mo 14 Oct 05

Has anyone thought about the fact that the “flash” is the backlight - did Apple extend the warranty past one year? It used to be that the cost to replace was in excess of $600Canadian. Nobody wants that just for a great toy.

Justin 17 Oct 05

I’m also a Apple’s fan. I really liked the new iPod also.

Gerald Clarke 17 Oct 05

How come I’m just hearing about this October 17th? Sounds pretty important. Oh, well. Can’t keep up with everything everywhere.

Anonymous Person 17 Oct 05

My understanding, as I look at one right now is that LCDs don’t exactly throw off the light like a flash does.

Totally agree with this. The amount of light from a flash is many times greater than the amount light an LCD can give off.

Think of it more as a fill flash — webcam photos are often poorly & weirdly lit, since an in-use computer screen is a mediocre light source and room lighting is rarely set up to illuminate a person’s face as they look at the computer. Often there is a light source visible in the background and the webcam adjusts its exposure for that bright spot, making the face dark. (Think of your family photos where the sun sets behind your so-dark-as-to-be-unrecognizable family members.)

I would imagine, besides the cool-user-interface-feedback angle someone else mentioned, that this at least ensures a minimum (and predictable) amount of light, but more importantly it comes from a useful direction. And it’s diffuse, which is nice too.

MacRaven 19 Oct 05

Ha, ha, Sorry to correct you Sxates, but M$ and Billy DID copy Apple again. This is Apple’s SECOND attempt at Mac TV.
Here is the first back in 1993:
http://www.lowendmac.com/500/mactv.shtml

Apple leads, Microsoft does a cheesy follow. Has always been, and always will be.

Vanderviken 20 Oct 05

The video iPod and TV show downloading is a good thing for busy commuters. Unties you from the boob tube schedule. You could watch the show on your train ride to work.

Mark 23 Oct 05

This is all very cool stuff.

booboo 29 Oct 05

no it isnt

james 10 Nov 05

some of you people need to eat more fruit!! Try an apple!

Ive been working with PC’s and apples in a support and development enviroment for over 10 years.

I can tell you as fact that the mac is a much better platform than the 386 pc.

But here is the important thing! I DONT CARE!

Thats what I dont understand about some of you people. You slag apple off left right and bandy but does it matter. If you dont like the mac or the Ipod then dont get one!

I have a 17 inch powerbook, a 20 inch imac(isight) and a duel core G5. I also have an IBM thinkpad and an alienware desktop for gaming.

The thing is - they all do the same thing at the end of the day. Buying an apple or a pc is not about performance or anything else its a lifestyle choice. Both platforms have their merits and personally I prefer the mac! I think its better on many levels, not least stability and performance.

I put my Ł1200 imac against my Intel P4 extreme desktop (Ł3500) and although the PC is quicker, it is only a little quicker. I also have to spend hours and hours installing updates, patches and drivbers to keep it running. Its a full time job.

I have 3 macs and have never had a problem with any of them!

You need to take an abject view on this as im getting fed up of people slaggin M$ and Apple. If you dont like them, dont buy them but shut up about it already.

Dondon 16 Nov 05

doesn’t have a scroll wheel? did someone say the remote doesn’t have a scroll wheel? Uh, I guess that’s why my ipod mini (same buttons as the apple remote) doesn’t let me change the volume or scroll quickly through song lists or jump to any part of a song instantly and easily.

OH WAIT, IT DOES! That’s because the ipod mini has a built in slider (run your finger around the ring, it scrolls), and I would imagine that the new Apple remote does the same thing.

Here’s my quick and dirty list of my perceived pros and cons of each type of remote as far as changing tv channels goes:

standard numeric remote:
pros:
- everyone knows how to use it
- you can see what you’re going to enter by looking at the remote, you don’t necessarily have to use the visual feedback on your tv screen to confirm what you’re entering
- nice tactile response, you press a button and can (hopefully) feel it being pressed

cons:
- bulky
- most numeric remote systems have a timer (motorola digital box anyone?) and if you press a number button you MUST press the remaining 1 or 2 in the sequence within a couple seconds or so or the box will assume you meant to go to the channel of your first digit (for example 6, instead of 60).
- many remote systems have so many buttons that you HAVE to look at the remote clearly to know what you’re pressing, and for older people (from what I’ve seen) there can be a lot of trouble seeing the buttons and pressing them in time before the tv switches to some incorrect channel (see the timeout point above)
- due to the above you pretty well have to look at both the remote’s buttons and the onscreen feedback to confirm that you’re changing to the intended channel

Apple remote with scroll wheel:
Pros:
- tactile feedback is great, you can feel that you’re on the ring and there’s only one ring so no need to look at the remote
- due to the above the user doesn’t have to take their eyes off of the tv, relying on it’s easy to read large numeric feedback
- if it’s anything like my ipod, you can easily move your finger to the appropriate button by feel alone and use the onscreen menu to tell you where you are in the navigation of your tv, allowing easy control of every other function offered by the system (volume etc)

cons:
- you have to get out of the mindset where “new is confusing”, because in Apple’s case it’s generally the opposite
- a tiny remote might be hard for arthritic hands to hold (but then arthritic hands may have trouble with bulky numeric remotes as well)

I hope that’s sort of a useful list… seems logical to me, although no doubt I’ve missed points and others will disagree. My main point is that whoever was complaining about the remote as far as tivo-like control goes hasn’t thought it out (and doesn’t use an ipod to relax like some of us do).

Josh Moore 02 Dec 05

Very well put! I agree.

As for the Anti MS BS…

MS produces a very well know and highly accepted OS. (Also a very buggy and heavly patched os).

However, Apple produces a very intuitive and logical os. (Just think: on a pc to shut down, what button do you click? (That would be the “Start” button…I rest my case))

Also, I get an Apple update once maybe twice a month. As a sys admin for over 10k PC’s, I send out updates on a weekly, but most often daily status.

Finally, the biggest complaint i get from PC users is that the Mac OS does not work with all of their software. Just think what do “most” PC users do; Web, EMail, Word Proc. Thats the majority of the market. With a pc there are three apps that you need for that Firefox, Thunderbird, and MS Word. on a mac you need Firefox (or Safari), Thunderbird (or Mail.app) and MS Word. HMM, Your software doent run?

Lets go deeper, Most teeens and computer friendly adults; Music, Movies, CD Burning. PC: WMP(or iTunes), Windows Movie Maker, OS WIll Burn for you (3rd Party apps work too). Mac: iTunes, iMovie, Os will burn for you. (3rd Party Apps work too). Once again, NO software?

Personally, I think that anyone who smacks the other platform around needs to switch to linux. After some time on linux you will gain an apperciation for BOTH platforms. I have three notebooks. 2 ThinkPads (XP & Fedora 4) and PB 15”. I have three desktops. 2 IBM’s (XP & Fedora 3 & 4) and a Dual 2.5 PM.

I use them all. Daily. Something are better on the mac. Some better on the pc. Some better on Linux. USE WHAT YOU LIKE AND ARE COMFERTABLE WITH. The rest of the world could care less!

JM

Josh Moore 02 Dec 05

Very well put! I agree.

As for the Anti MS BS…

MS produces a very well know and highly accepted OS. (Also a very buggy and heavly patched os).

However, Apple produces a very intuitive and logical os. (Just think: on a pc to shut down, what button do you click? (That would be the “Start” button…I rest my case))

Also, I get an Apple update once maybe twice a month. As a sys admin for over 10k PC’s, I send out updates on a weekly, but most often daily status.

Finally, the biggest complaint i get from PC users is that the Mac OS does not work with all of their software. Just think what do “most” PC users do; Web, EMail, Word Proc. Thats the majority of the market. With a pc there are three apps that you need for that Firefox, Thunderbird, and MS Word. on a mac you need Firefox (or Safari), Thunderbird (or Mail.app) and MS Word. HMM, Your software doent run?

Lets go deeper, Most teeens and computer friendly adults; Music, Movies, CD Burning. PC: WMP(or iTunes), Windows Movie Maker, OS WIll Burn for you (3rd Party apps work too). Mac: iTunes, iMovie, Os will burn for you. (3rd Party Apps work too). Once again, NO software?

Personally, I think that anyone who smacks the other platform around needs to switch to linux. After some time on linux you will gain an apperciation for BOTH platforms. I have three notebooks. 2 ThinkPads (XP & Fedora 4) and PB 15”. I have three desktops. 2 IBM’s (XP & Fedora 3 & 4) and a Dual 2.5 PM.

I use them all. Daily. Something are better on the mac. Some better on the pc. Some better on Linux. USE WHAT YOU LIKE AND ARE COMFERTABLE WITH. The rest of the world could care less!

JM

jb 13 Apr 06

can anyone tell me how i can get my hands on the photobooth application without having to buy a new mac?

is it true you can have an email only acount for Ł7.50 without having to sign up for a full .mac membership for Ł68.98 a year.

if so how can i do it?

jojo 03 May 06

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Simon Jones 29 Jun 06

I think it’s daft software to be honest. But you can have some good fun with it. See www.beforeiforget.co.uk/2006/06/30/faces/

Matt Guano 12 Jul 06

I was pretty surprised that a program called Photo Booth doesn’t actually make photobooth-style strips. What the @#$@#???? Anyway, then I found Photoboof, a Windows program that does a great job of turning a computer into a photobooth:

http://photoboof.com

It also let me use my Canon Powershot for the camera, which takes way better pictures than my webcam. And no cheesy screen effect for the flash, it can use the Canon’s flash. Really cool app, definitely recommended to anyone looking to build a photobooth.

Torley 15 Sep 06

I think the flash is a nifty idea in concept, but in practice, I don’t like it because (1) there’s no way to toggle it and (2) it adds a cold blue glare on the subject (like myself) I take shots of in otherwise warm lighting. Wish there was a way to turn it off. It *is* very cute and fun, and the effects are silly great.

Robin MacDonald 01 Oct 06

“remote has less buttons because ‘Front Row’ has about 5% of the features of WMC. Why would I have an imac in front of my couch if it doesn’t have TV capabilities?”

ahaa, but now check this out http://www.iospirit.com/index.php
this has got to boost you up to about 250% - cheers

Doug 02 Oct 06

Actually, I wish the screen flash could be turned off. Sometimes with nice side lighting, the portrait looks better. Straight-on flash looks cheaper and flatter. Is there any way to turn it off??

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