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

macbook123

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Feb 11, 2006
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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?
 

gamecube117

macrumors 6502
Mar 7, 2012
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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?
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:
 

Buildbright

macrumors 6502a
Aug 25, 2011
652
1
I am waiting to test it. But they haven't upgraded the front cameras in any of the mobile devices.
 
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DreamPod

macrumors 65816
Mar 15, 2008
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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.
 

SchneiderMan

macrumors G3
May 25, 2008
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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.
 

Taimaru

macrumors member
May 22, 2010
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0
UK
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.
 

Michael CM1

macrumors 603
Feb 4, 2008
5,676
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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.
 

MythicFrost

macrumors 68040
Mar 11, 2009
3,929
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Australia
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.
 

Mr.C

macrumors 601
Apr 3, 2011
4,479
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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.
 

Jarson

macrumors regular
Feb 18, 2011
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0
Glasgow
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.
 

Docesam

macrumors newbie
Mar 11, 2012
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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
 

emgoodman

macrumors regular
Mar 18, 2011
125
0
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.
 

Stealthipad

macrumors 68040
Apr 30, 2010
3,220
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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.
 

ThatsMeRight

macrumors 68020
Sep 12, 2009
2,255
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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.
 

Chupa Chupa

macrumors G5
Jul 16, 2002
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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
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.
 

urkel

macrumors 68030
Nov 3, 2008
2,722
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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.
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.
 

GraphicsGeek

macrumors 6502a
Sep 19, 2008
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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.
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.
 

urkel

macrumors 68030
Nov 3, 2008
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760
The front camera isn't used just for FaceTime. There are other apps that let you do video calling over 3G.
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.

The back camera is higher res because its intended to shoot photos and video, not video calling.
Huh? This is just an odd excuse since Apple allows it to work for purposes outside of shooting videos.

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.
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.
 
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striker33

macrumors 65816
Aug 6, 2010
1,098
2
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?
 

urkel

macrumors 68030
Nov 3, 2008
2,722
760
It wasnt improved in order to keep costs down.
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.

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?
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.
 
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