Apple Extends 'iSight' Name to iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 Rear Cameras

Thursday March 8, 2012 8:15 AM PST by Eric Slivka
Some observers found Apple's introduction of an "iSight" camera on its new iPad yesterday to be an interesting move, given that the name had previously been used for Apple's standalone and integrated webcams on its Mac computers but had fallen out of favor as Apple transitioned those webcams to adopt "FaceTime" and "FaceTime HD".

With the third-generation iPad, Apple has resurrected the iSight name to refer to the 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, as opposed to the front-facing FaceTime camera also found on the device. As noted by Phil Schiller during the product's introduction:
On the back we have a camera, and when that camera gets of such quality and capability that you're proud to use it as your everyday camera for photographs, we call it an iSight camera. And the new iPad has a great iSight camera.
As noted by @hashim_i, Apple has also retroactively applied the iSight name to the 8-megapixel camera found on the iPhone 4S, an understandable move considering its higher resolution and nearly identical optics compared to the new iPad.


In addition, Apple's iPhone 4 tech specs are now referring to that device's 5-megapixel rear camera as an iSight camera. The naming convention has not, however, extended to the 3-megapixel iPhone 3GS camera.

Related roundup: iPhone 6

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

Posted: 35 months ago
Oh how we miss you iSight

Thumb resize.


When was the last time they used iSight to refer to a camera on a computer?


November 2010 when Apple started transitioning to FaceTime http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISight
Rating: 20 Votes
Posted: 35 months ago
Man, 4G and an iSight camera all in one day!

The 4S is the gift that keeps on giving :D
Rating: 12 Votes
Posted: 35 months ago
iSight - High Quality camera for pictures and videos.
FaceTime - Camera for self portraits and FaceTime.
FaceTime HD - High Quality camera for self portraits and FaceTime.

Got it.

When was the last time they used iSight to refer to a camera on a computer?
Rating: 8 Votes
Posted: 35 months ago
I always liked the name iSight for a camera/webcam :)
Rating: 7 Votes
Posted: 35 months ago
It just seems odd to me, since iSight previously referred to front facing cameras! (The old FireWire cam for iChat AV, the built-in front-facing cameras in computer systems and external displays.) It just seems odd to now have the rear facing camera be called that.
Rating: 6 Votes
Posted: 35 months ago
it was silly to abandon the iSight name and start naming cameras after a single app (FaceTime), when many people, especially on their Macs probably use it as much for other things (Skype, PhotoBooth) as for FaceTime...

...and having abandoned the iSight name, it's even sillier to resurrect it AND retro-apply it.

i'm not complaining. i'm just saying it seems silly. :rolleyes:
Rating: 5 Votes
Posted: 35 months ago
Looks like a over rulling from Steve getting rid of the name. Expect more changes.
Rating: 3 Votes
Posted: 35 months ago
I suppose this is a move towards making it easier for the iPhone's (and now iPad’s) outstanding camera to gain mindshare among general buying public. (Most people neither know nor care what iSight meant in years past.) That camera really IS an iOS selling point (as long as they don’t use the term on the iPod Touch) and now it has a memorable, clearly-Apple name.

Does seem weird for those of who have known the name for ages, though!
Rating: 2 Votes
Posted: 35 months ago



Stupid name. Why would I want the "best camera I'll ever use" to be on the back of an unwieldy tablet? Why waste a good camera on the backside of the iPad where few people use it and not on the front where many people use it for FaceTime? And yes, I know, everyone will reply that they use the backside camera all the time because they don't have a smartphone and it's "great for framing portraits". But let's get real here folks, a backside camera on the iPad is all but forgotten in my opinion and is a waste.


Remember iPad is a Post-PC device. That means, for some houses, iPad is the ONLY computer they have, and a computer should serve all kind of purpose, thus iPad deserves a great camera on backside.

You don't want that camera on frontside, because we can't FaceTime 1080p or not even 720p. Networks are not sufficient. Images will slug.
Rating: 1 Votes
Posted: 35 months ago

In addition, Apple's iPhone 4 tech specs (http://www.apple.com/iphone/iphone-4/specs.html) are now referring to that device's 5-megapixel rear camera as an iSight camera. The naming convention has not, however, extended to the 3-megapixel iPhone 3GS camera (http://www.apple.com/iphone/iphone-3gs/specs.html).


They should name the 3GS camera the farSighted.
Rating: 0 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]