Chris Alexander

On Engineering

Illogical iPad

26th March, 2012

Passing through Google Reader I noticed some trashy blog post about when its appropriate to take pictures with your iPad (answer: never). This got me thinking.

Why would Apple put the decent quality camera on the back of the device? Why not the front?

I don’t have an iPad with a camera, but I’m pretty certain that if I did have one, I would make most use of the camera on the front - for video calls. Surely that would be a better reason for a nice quality camera? I would argue for no camera on the back, or an essentially useless camera on the back for those who absolutely need it.

There are a number of reasons Apple could have deemed this a bad idea (or the one engineer who thought it up never mentioned it). Firstly it would be larger, and hence would blight the front of the iPad with a horrendous circle (you could put it in the home button perhaps?). No camera on the back would basically be suicide for the device I imagine (but then the original iPad did OK without any camera). I suppose video calls could not have been that popular on iPhone / iPad - perhaps mostly because of stupid carrier restrictions on not using FaceTime™®© over 3G (its not us in the UK’s fault that US carriers decided to boost profits rather than boost network capacity and therefore couldn’t handle it - no such issues over here!). There is also the potential that the increased camera quality would not be translated into better video quality for some other reason (bandwidth / algorithms / processing power limit etc).

I love video calling over the web (over a mobile phone call not so much, mostly due to the stupid prices) so this would be a cool thing to add to improve that experience (especially with the better screen). Perhaps then I may consider switching (but I much prefer Android for now).