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Why does the MacBook Pro camera give you a mirror image picture? (and a solution)

I have to blame Chris Brogan. Some time back he had a picture in his left sidebar of him with some other people, and in that picture, his hair was parted on his right. However, above that, he had a picture in his banner with his hair parted on his left (as you can see in his banner now). Other pictures he put in his header were also different from his left sidebar picture. Now, realizing that people do change their hair parts, I asked him this when we were in the middle of some other other conversation. His answer was something like this:

No, the issue is that the MacBook camera reverses the image.

So naturally when I bought a MacBook Pro, one of the things I did check out was the camera and it's image. Sure enough, it gives you a mirror image. For instance, here's the picture I just recorded in a Facebook video:


Note that my hair is parted on my right. Now, if you were to see me, or take a digital picture of me, you would see that my hair is normally parted on my left:

So this latter one is a more accurate representation of how I look.

Now, the issue with hair parts is not really a huge deal (at least to me), but where this gets more of an issue is with words. For instance, here's some piece of advertising in my hotel room, shot through the normal MacBook Pro camera:
Do we see a problem here? In fact, the image should really be:
How did I correct the image? Well, it turns out that there's a great little piece of software from ecamm network called (of course) iGlasses. For $9.95 you can download this little piece of software that will work with iChat, Photo Booth, Skype and pretty much any other Mac apps that work with the embedded camera. (Except, I discovered, for Facebook video, which seems to use some Flash applet that doesn't appear to make use of iGlasses.) Here's the control panel:
Note the nice little check box at the bottom for "Mirror". Ta da... words read correctly (and hair is parted correctly :-).

Now the question for me is why this isn't something that Apple can just do automagically inside their software? Who at Apple decided that we ought to see mirror images through the camera? Very bizarre to me that they would make that choice. Hopefully sometime they'll fix it.

In the meantime, I've paid my $10 and can show my image correctly (outside of Facebook video).

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