Why did Apple improve the back-facing camera, but not the front-facing one? Guesses?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by macbook123, Mar 10, 2012.

  1. macbook123 macrumors 68000

    Feb 11, 2006
    I know this is somewhat related to another thread here, but I thought I'd ask more directly what people think might be reasons Apple went for improving the back-facing camera instead of the front-facing one? It seemed one obvious application of the new HD display would be to do bi-directional HD FaceTime chat. But that won't work. I can't imagine ever using the back-facing camera actually since my iPhone has a similar or better quality camera and it's easier to take out and use. I imagine Apple's consumer researchers are aware that most people nowadays have a decent phone or compact camera on them while using an iPad. So what was going on in the minds of Apple's management when they thought this out? It seems completely non-sensical to me personally, but obviously they're an extremely successful company so it is likely that I'm missing something obvious in their logic?
  2. gamecube117 macrumors 6502

    Mar 7, 2012
    I wanna know this too. I'm not tech savy, so I want to ask: is it expensive or harder or whatever reason to make the front facing camera the same quality as the front? I mean, if you're going to change the back, you might as well do the same to the front. I'm such a camwhore that I always take pictures using the front of the iPad because it's more convenient, but if it's going to remain the same LQ.. :rolleyes::rolleyes:
  3. Buildbright, Mar 11, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012

    Buildbright macrumors 6502a

    Aug 25, 2011
    I am waiting to test it. But they haven't upgraded the front cameras in any of the mobile devices.
  4. i0Nic macrumors 65816

    May 17, 2006
    Sydney, Australia
    Maybe a better front facing camera simply didn't fit in the casing.
  5. nickpro macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2007
    Bay Area
  6. thelead macrumors 6502

    Apr 30, 2010
  7. DreamPod macrumors 65816


    Mar 15, 2008
    I think it's pretty obvious - pictures taken with that camera will look amazing on the iPad's high-resolution display. Someone's face, not so much :) Apple most likely figured that a great way to show off the screen is use of the camera, and it's easier to use the camera if it's on the back of the device, using the screen as a super-high-res view finder, unless all you want to take a picture of is your face.

    BTW, there are very few phones that have a camera of that quality. Of the iPhones, for example, the 4s is the only one, and it is FAR FAR FAR better than the camera in the iPhone 4. The new iPad got the same camera tech for its rear camera. So it is likely that the new iPad will be a better camera than what the average user already had, if a bit clunky to hold.
  8. SchneiderMan macrumors G3


    May 25, 2008
    Because of costs. They wanted to keep the same price and profit more. Plus they'll have another new feature to brag about with the next generation iPad of course.
  9. Taimaru macrumors member

    May 22, 2010
    I think because the front-facing camera is mainly used for FaceTime, they wanted to keep the data usage down on the networks, and they can do this by having a low-resolution camera.
  10. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    My guess is when the iPad team got a list of improvements that could be made and keep the profit margin at some certain point, this didn't make the cut. I'm sure storage upgrades were a part of the same discussion.
  11. MythicFrost macrumors 68040


    Mar 11, 2009
    The front facing camera is a "FaceTime" camera, and FaceTime is done over WiFi, so it may be they're keeping the VGA camera so it's smoother, rather than one with a larger size, but may stutter.
  12. Mr.C macrumors 601

    Apr 3, 2011
    London, UK.
    The front facing camera is primarily used for FaceTime which doesn't need HD. It may still get upgraded in a future model but it probably wasn't a priority and may not have been practical regards design plus would have reduced their profit margin.
  13. Jarson macrumors regular


    Feb 18, 2011
    There are few reasons why they did that.

    1. Camera is one of most demanded upgrades of market - it's shaped across many years: each new phone MUST have new, better camera because those numbers (Mpx) always were makinmg huge impression between people showing off their cell phones / devices. First question, which average people ask and pay attention to is: "How many megapixels that camera has?"

    2. Actually iSight in new iPad isn't an actual upgrade. They just have added few software feautres like stabilization, face recognition, better saturation, backlight, and several corrections, and called it iSight because it makes better impression. They saved lots of money on it

    3. And third, my favourite. How do you think, why they want you to focus on a back camera? To shoot photos with! You have to show others that you have an apple tablet and shooting amazing photos with. You're in the center of attention making photos with apple tablet. People are asking questions "Is that iPad?" "Can you read newspapers on it?". Live advertisement.

    4. Why not 8mpx?

    Simple answer: why spend money on something you'll buy anyway? Definitely to early for 8Mpx in tablets (and tbh, you don't need better one), probably we'll see it in 4th generation iPad as that will be market demands.
  14. Docesam macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2012
    You can ask for million things , but the weight of the ipad , size and price will matter at the end.
    It is all compromises mate
  15. emgoodman macrumors regular

    Mar 18, 2011
    Not improving the front facing canera was my singular disappointment with this gen iPad. Apple really pushed Facetime when marketing the iPhone 4 and I think in general it hasn't been that popular because its awkward to hold your phone away from you when talking to someone. The ipad, though, can (with a cover stand) be sat on a table and woud really work well for web camera apps. I still can't see using the iPad to take pics (especially since I have a 4S) but am warming to the idea of using it for video as having that huge viewer would be awesome.

    I am sure it came down to having to chose one or the other from a cost/fit standpoint and marketing reports showed that the public would want the higher res rear versus front. Although, I would say the one thing that Apple does better than other companies is not listen to marketing reports. They don't trust the public because the truth is the public often doesn't know what it wants because they haven't imagined it yet. Wish they had in this circumstance and at least added a couple MP tot he front camera.
  16. Stealthipad macrumors 68040


    Apr 30, 2010
    It is not hard to understand. Lower resolution cameras are required for saving bandwidth. AT&T does not want you broadcasting higher resolution video over their network.

    The camera is as good or better that the camera that resides at the top of your desktop screen. It has nothing to do with the size of them camera.
  17. ThatsMeRight macrumors 68020

    Sep 12, 2009
    It is not hard to understand. Now they can upgrade the front facing camera next year so next year you've got a new reason to buy a new iPad.
  18. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    Not true. The camera in the iPad 2 is a fixed focus 1MP. The camera in the new iPad is auto focus, 5 element, 5MP. It's a completely different camera and now has the same guts as the iPhone 4S camera, just fewer MPs.
  19. Eves apple macrumors member

    Sep 25, 2011
    You know it's true! :D it will have two, so you can do 3D FaceTime
  20. urkel macrumors 68030

    Nov 3, 2008
    Hopefully one day in the far far distant future a front facing camera can be made that can scale an image magically through software. :)

    Seriously though, why do people still use this excuse?
    1) An image isn't required to be sent at the maximum quality of its hardware
    2) FaceTime is WiFi Only and doesn't work on carriers networks
    3) The leverage ATT has over Apple has dwindled to nothing. This is an Apple decision.
    4) Its an LTE device with data caps which benefits the CARRIER so claiming they're "saving bandwidth" doesn't make sense
    5) Low-res camera "required" for saving bandwidth, yet using the higher-res back camera works perfectly

    The reason why the front facing camera wasn't improved beyond VGA is simply "Apple chose not to". The hardware exists and the software exists so we'll likely see it as a "new feature" next year.
  21. GraphicsGeek macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2008
    The front camera isn't used just for FaceTime. There are other apps that let you do video calling over 3G. The back camera is higher res because its intended to shoot photos and video, not video calling. The only reason the camera wasn't upgraded is because HD isn't needed for video calling and it takes up too much bandwidth. Yes, going over the data cap benefits the carrier but Apple doesn't want to make a device that consumers are constantly going over data caps because of video calling.
  22. urkel, Mar 11, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012

    urkel macrumors 68030

    Nov 3, 2008
    Skype. Tango etc. And they all work with both the front AND back camera with the video simply compressed to reduce bandwidth. This is all digital so scaling video doesn't require restricting through hardware.

    Huh? This is just an odd excuse since Apple allows it to work for purposes outside of shooting videos.

    The idea that "Apple doesn't want to make a device that consumers are constantly going over data caps because of video calling" doesn't make sense when they just demoed watching 1080 movies over LTE.

    Im fine if Apple decides to not put in something until they're ready. But Im not going to create excuses for them. Thats the job of their marketing department, not the consumer.
  23. striker33 macrumors 65816


    Aug 6, 2010
    It wasnt improved in order to keep costs down.

    Expect a FaceTime HD camera to be one of their "big" features of the next iPhone, and the next iPad.

    Although in all honesty, I fail to see why a better camera is needed. Yes it would be a nice option, but in reality, how many people actually use FaceTime?
  24. urkel, Mar 11, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012

    urkel macrumors 68030

    Nov 3, 2008
    We haven't gotten numbers yet, but cost breakdowns tend to have the price difference of a VGA and higher res camera to be within a dollar.

    Actually, the better question should be "how many people don't use FaceTime BECAUSE of the camera quality?"

    And if anyone thought the camera looked bad on the iPad 2, imagine it on a 9.7" retina display. Display such poor camera quality works against Apple's reputation.
  25. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    ...because the VGA camera is good enough for FaceTime.

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