iChat, uChat, We All Chat

I do so enjoy an iSteven performance. His keynotes are the stuff on-stage legends are made of. Its clear that he enjoys putting on his dog and pony show just as much as we enjoy taking it in. He is so in his element up there, trotting out the latest and greatest of Appleís offerings.

Of course, one canít comment on the fine job he does without touching on the famed Jobs Reality Distortion Field. Just now I expect a number of telecommunications executives are wishing that the iSteve had kept his new reality to himself.

You see, Apple has this way of changing the world. Its true that Gates and company rule the world. After all, they have the backing of the U.S. government and the Department of Injustice. But like it or not, the course has not been, is not being, and will not ever be, charted at an office in Redmond. Apple paves the way and the world follows.

This evening I spent about an hour on my Mac talking with one of my oldest and dearest friends.

Letís consider that statement and then remind ourselves of what it implies. It was over twenty years ago when Apple ignited the personal computing industry. Everyone jumped on their bandwagon. Back in the early 90ís, when everyone was building portables that were about as well thought out as a soup sandwich, Apple introduced the PowerBook. Everyone jumped on their bandwagon. Laptops everywhere suddenly started to look and act like portables. Three or four years ago Apple debuted AirPort, and everyone followed in their footsteps. And so on, and so on, and so on.

So, tonight, my 17î AlBook, connected to the internet via Appleís AirPort wireless networking, and attached to an analog camcorder via a FireWire connection, spent an hour passing bits and bytes up and down my broadband connection. Clark doesnít have a FireWire enabled video camera of any kind right now, so we had to settle for a one-way video chat. That was more than adequate for him to laugh at my one and a half year old sonís antics while we talked about, well, everything.

Back to the whole reality distortion field thing.

Its not going to happen right away, as the masters of the telecom world just arenít that bright. They seem to spend their time trying to figure out how to better include more Microsloth technology into their copper-laden industry standard worlds. Sooner or later though theyíre going to wake up to the fact that Mac users have a very simple and effective way to talk to people around the world without making a long distance call. Iím sure theyíll step up thier lobbying efforts with their bought-and-paid-for government officials to change the way that internet fees are charged.

Its not the first time that Apple has turned the world on its head and it wonít be the last. Of course later, rather than sooner, the peecee world will catch up to what Apple has delivered unto us. Oh, sure. Video conferencing has been out there for a while now. Iíve dabbled with it on and off for a couple of years. Iíve never seen anything as simple, straightforward to set up, and totally effective. As so many of us are fond of saying about Appleís developments, it just works.

Delivering audio and video conferencing wasnít such a great accomplishment. Turning out something that works this well is something special. I just hope I see a bunch of Apple commercials bragging about using today what the other guys will deliver sometime in the future