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iChat Features

The new Mac Leopard operating system is coming out very soon and one of the features I’d like to learn more about before I start using it is iChat. Can you please tell me a little more about it?

First of all, I have to say that you have chosen one of the coolest features to be curious about. The new operating system for Macs, called the Leopard, comes with a ton of new features, but from what I’ve seen, iChat is one of the best. Apple has really outdone themselves on this one. Now, before I go any further, I want to let you all know that the Mac OS X Leopard is scheduled to be released to the public today (October 26, 2007). Apple has been taking pre-order sales for the new operating system for awhile now, so maybe yours is already on its way, but if not, you’ll have plenty of time to upgrade after today. Alright, let’s now get back to iChat!

To begin, iChat is a form of video chatting, which means you can see who you’re talking to while you chat. For example, if you have some family members who live far away from you, iChat can bring you together! As long as you both have Mac computers, you can see each other while you chat it up. It’s the perfect way to stay connected with family or long lost friends. I know a lot of people who buy Macs just for this iChat feature. It really takes online chatting to the next level and it’s just so much fun to use!

Even better, with the new iChat, you can now chat from anywhere in the world. How, you ask? Well, new video backdrops have been added to iChat, so you can make it look like you’re chatting from several different locations, like the Eiffel Tower, underwater or even from the moon. Or, if you want to make your own backdrops, you can do so by using your own photos. All you have to do is drag your picture to the Video Effects window and it will show up as your video chat background. The new backdrops will even show up on other computers that may not have the Leopard yet. So, if some of your friends or family don’t get the Leopard right away, they can still see your awesome backgrounds!

Another new feature is called the Photo Booth. If you’re using one of your own pictures for your chat backdrop, you can add special effects to it with Photo Booth. Maybe you’d like to add a comic book effect to your picture or maybe you want to soften your image with a glow. You can do all of that and more with this new feature. All you have to do is choose the special effect you want and your video chat will instantly change over to it. Here’s another one! How would you like to show some of your projects and such to your friends and family? Maybe you have a photo slideshow you’ve been working really hard on and you’d like to show it off. If so, you can do that right from your iChat video screen. You can put up a picture slideshow, a presentation or even a movie and your chat buddies will be able to see it with no trouble whatsoever!

The new iChat also comes with a screen sharing feature. With it, you and one of your chat friends can share the same computer screen, which makes it easy to collaborate with each other on certain things. For instance, maybe you need some help with a document you’ve been working on. If so, just put it up on your screen, activate the sharing feature and you’ll both be able to add your input to it. Or, maybe you found something on the Web that you’d just love to share with one of your friends. In that case, bring it up on your Mac computer, start the sharing process and you’ll both be able to see it at the same time. You can use either computer screen and you will both still have full access to what you’re working on. This also comes with an audio feature, so you can talk to your friend while you work as well. It doesn’t get any better or easier than that!

Have you ever wanted to record one of your chat sessions? If so, you can now do it with ease! iChat will first make sure it’s okay with both chatters if it records what you’re saying and if it is, it will record every last second. It will then save the session to your computer so that you can listen to it later on your computer or even with iTunes. It’s the perfect way to save a special chat or refer back to something later on. Along with that comes a crystal clear audio sound that is sure not to disappoint. iChat uses the AAC-LD audio format to capture the best sound possible for any type of voice.

Now, maybe you’re not into the whole video chat thing. If so, that’s no problem! The Leopard takes care of that too. The text chats have also been upgraded with new additions, including tabbed chats, multiple logins, invisibility, animated buddy icons, SMS forwarding, a custom buddy list order, a file transfer manager and space-efficient views. And even better, iChat now works right alongside the popular AIM chat program. Yep, you and your chat buddies can now either be AIM or Mac users and the iChat features will work for both. Talk about convenient!

Well, there you have it. Those are just some of the new features you will find in the Leopard iChat program. I’d say they’re off to a pretty good start, how about you? Check it out today (or whenever is best for you). Enjoy!

~ Erin