I just wrote about why Apple won’t go for visual communications on their 27″ Mac display. But I also don’t believe they will be adding that front facing camera on the iPad either.
There are numerous rumors regarding Apple’s plans in this area – some surfaced before the iPad was even introduced to the world and some state that the camera is there but hidden for the time being. Similar rumors have surfaced about the iPhone as well.
My own feeling? This won’t happen any time soon. Especially not for the iPad.
The iPad is a tablet PC. It is something you place on your lap and browse. And if you are engaged in a video call, there is no way you are going to leave it on your lap. Need convincing? Here’s a picture I took with my phone from a “”lap holding position”. Ignoring the fact that I do need a haircut and a shave (done both since the picture was taken), do you notice my enlarged nostrils? Or the ceiling? Or the lighting on my wall calendar? Or the angry angles of that calendar, wall and picture?
It just won’t work for video conferencing. Too much hair in the nose just won’t look good at high definition.
So what a man to do in such a case? Do you say hold that iPad straight instead? Here’s the result of that one:
Well, now it does look better and that nose is still mine. Big, but no nostrils. A bit too serious I must confess, but the real problem is something that my wife would notice immediately. She’s a Pilates teacher, and she’ll simply say that I need to take that stress off of my shoulders and put them back in place. I am holding that phone (or iPad which weighs a bit more) in front of my face to take this image. Will I be able to do it for a full video call session? With the need to concentrate on what’s being said at the same time? No.
You see – an iPad is a great device with lots of uses. Especially when it comes to reading and browsing. But it’s not a visual communications device. The camera isn’t positioned in the right place. A front facing camera just doesn’t make any sense here. Visual communications is happening – there’s no doubt about it. Some of the use cases need to be figured out and the one for the iPad isn’t an easy one.