Apple Might Fix the iPad’s Biggest Flaw

Apple Might Fix the iPad’s Biggest Flaw
Photo: Caitlin McGarry/Gizmodo

After years of waiting and complaining, it looks like iPads might finally get the thing we’ve all been asking for: a front-facing camera in a useful spot.

Right now, the iPad’s front-facing camera is located on the shorter side of the device — or the top of the tablet in portrait mode. The problem is while you might use the iPad in portrait mode to read, most people use it in landscape mode to watch movies, work, and FaceTime.

But according to prolific leaker @dylandkt, that could soon change. Dylan tweeted that the iPad Pro will not only get a camera placed above the screen in landscape mode, but that Apple will made landscape mode the default. They also noted the Apple logo on the back would also be flipped from portrait mode to landscape. It’s not clear whether this will be ready in time for the next-gen iPad Pros, but it is purportedly in the works.

While it makes sense to hold your phone vertically while FaceTiming, it’s less intuitive for the iPad. Most iPad cases or stands assume that you want to use the device in landscape mode, as you would a computer. This is especially true if you’re using an accessory like the Magic Keyboard, which basically turns the iPad into a laptop. This is probably at least half the reason why grandparents and parents the world over never know where to look when FaceTiming. (Whom amongst us hasn’t spent an hour looking at grandma’s forehead, and only her forehead?) It certainly doesn’t help that we’ve been trained the past few decades with webcams that attach to the top horizontal side of our laptops and monitors. Newer iPads have a Centre Stage feature that automatically keeps you in the centre of the frame while FaceTiming, which sort of helps, but it still doesn’t fix the problem of knowing where to look.

Is this also perhaps Apple suggesting that the landscape mode is the “correct” way to use the iPad? Maybe. It would certainly lend credence to the idea that Apple really wants you to use its tablets as laptop replacements — though attempts to do so have been incredibly mixed thus far. Apple has also slowly but surely begun nixing the home button on its iPads, most recently on the 2021 iPad Mini. It’s yet another sign that the line between iPads and MacBooks has blurred even further.

In any case, the iPad has seen stellar sales during the pandemic — a time when media consumption and Zoom calls have been at an all-time high. Perhaps Apple’s design team has finally had enough of the iPad’s vertical front-facing camera. I know I have.