Apple's forgotten 20-year-old digital cameras

Time Magazine profiled the Apple QuickTake as "the first consumer digital camera" and ranked it among its 100 greatest and most influential gadgets from 1923 to the present" list. Technically this is not true as the greyscale Dycam Model 1 (also marketed as the Logitech FotoMan) was the first consumer digital camera to be sold in the US in November 1990. At least one other camera, the Fuji DS-X, was sold in Japan even earlier, in late 1989. But it still remains one of the first digital cameras released targeted to consumers. Three models of the product were built, the 100 and 150 both built by Kodak; and the 200, built by Fujifilm. The 100 and 150 were Microsoft and Apple Macintosh compatible, but the 200 was a Mac only compatible camera. The cameras connected to any Macintosh computer by way of an Apple serial cable. The camera was capable of storing eight photos at 640×480 resolution, 32 photos at 320×240 resolution, or a mixture of both sizes. All photos were at 24-bit color. The camera had a built-in flash, but no focus or zoom controls. Other than downloading the photos to a computer, there was no way to preview them on the camera, nor was there any way to delete individual photos from the camera (though there was a recessed 'trash' button which would delete the entire contents of the camera). The QuickTake 150 kit included a separate close-up lens that allowed focusing at approximately 30 cm. Apple offered a factory upgrade to the QuickTake 100 changing the name to the QuickTake 100 Plus, which included all the functionality of the QuickTake 150. The last QuickTake model was the Fujifilm-built QuickTake 200, released in 1996. The 200 added focus and aperture controls, as well as the ability to store images on removable SmartMedia flashRAM cards. This camera embodies the mindset at Apple Inc, which is to always innovate and think differently. However, the various QuickTake models did not sell very well, as other companies such as Kodak, Fujifilm, Canon, and Nikon entered the digital market with brands that consumers associated with photography. They were discontinued in 1997 shortly after Steve Jobs came back to Apple. In an attempt to streamline Apple’s operations, Jobs discontinued many non-computer products, including the Newton line of products, the LaserWriter printer line, and the QuickTake cameras. The Apple QuickTake camera has since become a collector's item for Apple enthusiasts. With the creation of the iSight, Apple seemed to hinti at returning to the world of cameras. We can only hope that they do seeing as they see themselves as a lifestyle tech company. TIME magazine 100 greatest gadgets list: http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,2023689,00.html

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