The idea is not new. As much as I love Apple’s work, they did not invent the videophone. Not by a long shot. True, their iPhones and iPads help usher in a relevant and elegant solution to the age-old idea, but going back over a century, people have envisioned calling others using imagery as well as audio.  Oobject has a cool collection of vintage videophones, both the real, clunky versions, and the make believe.

iPad 2 with HD FaceTime videocalling

1964 Toshiba giant picture phone

1950s Shopping Television

Picture-calling in the year 2000, as imagined in 1910.

Videocalling from space in Kubrick's '2001'