iChat AV beta allows audio and video conferencing

Along with new computers, Apple announced a bunch of new products and software, including some available now.

iChatAV, available for download, is probably the most interesting to most users, with the exception of the 1.0 version of Safari.

The new iChat will allow for not only IM, but also audio and video chat with no configuration and a very nice, tight integration with I/O devices (such as cameras and microphones).

The service uses the built-in infrastructure of AIM to find the user on the other end and send them audio or video streams.

Included in the demo were streams of video and audio to the back room, Al Gore at the UCLA campus, and some dude in Paris. Surprising was the excellent performance in terms of video quality and the low latency.

Apple claims to be using standards-based technologies and encouraged other companies to adopt the mechanism for providing simplified conferencing without configuration.