Apple’s Love of Cameras: Remembering the QuickTake and iSight

Since 1994 with its first consumer offering, Apple has been a company that loves cameras.

Apple has been into cameras for a long time with its iOS devices, computers and even iPods.

Of course, today, we use FaceTime video without a second thought, but a decade ago, video chatting seemed like magic. In 2003, Apple brought it to the masses with iChat AV and the iSight camera.

The small aluminum-clad camera captured 640×480 video along with audio. All of this ran to the Mac over a FireWire cable. The unique design allowed the camera to be attached to any Mac, right above the screen for optimal placement. It’d set you back $149.

If you were a Mac user in 2004 and were serious about video conferencing, you probably had an iSight in your bag.

But the company’s quest to make cameras is older than the iSight.

Way back in January 1994, Apple released the QuickTake 100. Powered by Kodak technology and in a form factor that seems downright strange today, it could shoot at 640×480 photos captured with 24-bit color.

The QuickTake 100 was one of the first digital cameras marketed to consumers, but the camera cost $749 and it didn’t sell very well.

But 90s Apple was nothing if not relentless in the pursuit of products that didn’t always make sense for their time. It released the QuickTake 200 in 1996.

For sale less than a year, this camera was built by Fujifilm and looks a lot more modern than the 100 does. It has an LCD on the back as a viewfinder and a removable media card. It shot in the same .3 megapixels as the previous QuickTake cameras, but supported three, user-selectable focal points: close up, standard and portrait.

This QuickTake didn’t do very well either, and was killed when a certain someone (Steve Jobs) came back to the company. While most of the weird stuff Apple did in the 90s is gone, its love of cameras continues today.