The best news about the new iPad's camera? There's an app for that.

The best news about the new iPad's camera? There's an app for that.

Summary: Apple's new iPad boasts an updated new camera, but it's the new version of iPhoto for iOS that really wows in the photo department.

TOPICS: Hardware, iPad, Mobility

(iPad image courtesy of Apple)

The big news about Apple's new iPad, announced earlier today, was clearly the new high-definition retina display, with its quadrupling of display resolution to 2,048x1,536 pixels (i.e., 3.1 million pixels at 264 pixels per inch) and 44 percent improvement in color saturation. To take better advantage of the gorgeous display, the built-in backside camera has been upgraded from the measly 0.7-megapixel camera in the iPad 2, to a 5-megapixel model.

Despite the big jump in resolution, though, it's hardly thrilling when you consider that the iPhone 4S has an 8-megapixel camera. While it remains to be seen how the image quality will compare to photos you snap with the iPhone (more megapixels on a tiny sensor isn't always a good thing), the new iPad's photo capabilities are plainly good enough. The fact of the matter is that the iPad is just not designed to be a primary device for snapping lots of photos or videos. I rarely take photos with my iPad 2, and that's not because of the weak camera (I happily snapped a ton of photos with the lame little 2-megapixel camera in my first-generation iPhone) — it's just plain unwieldy and weird to shoot with an iPad.

Nevertheless, the sweet display would only serve to highlight the camera's weaknesses, so an upgrade was certainly in order. The backside camera (now dubbed the "iSight" camera, vs. the front-facing "FaceTime" camera) not only sports a 5-megapixel backside illuminated sensor, but it also borrows the higher-end optic system of the iPhone 4S, with a five-element lens and hybrid IR filter. Other camera features include:

  • Auto exposure
  • Autofocus
  • Auto face detection
  • Autoexposure lock
  • Autofocus lock
  • Auto white balance
  • 1080p HD video recording
  • Video image stabilization
  • Temporal noise reduction (to help improve low-light quality)

To further entice you to snap more photos with the device, Apple also announced a new edition of iPhoto for the iPad (just $4.99 in the iTunes App Store), which is much more interesting than the camera itself. The new app does much of what the desktop version of iPhoto does, but is enhanced with a sweet new interface (albums look like they're sitting on glass shelves) that offers new ways to browse through your image collection, as well as slick image editing, both of which take full advantage of the multi-touch screen and use intuitive gestures. There are a slew of features including professional-quality effects and brushes (just in time to compete with Adobe Photoshop Touch), online sharing options for easy uploading to Facebook, Twitter, etc., a cool Photo Journal feature that lets you share photo galleries via iCloud, and my personal favorite: Photo Beaming, which allows you to automatically transfer photos from other iOS devices. To get a good overview of the new iPhoto for iPad, queue up the video of today's launch event keynote to minute 62:15 and watch the demo by Randy Ubillos, Apple's Chief Architect for Photo and Video Applications.


Topics: Hardware, iPad, Mobility

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  • Did they just bring back the Mobile Me gallery? (Sort of)

    What I found really interesting is the option to publish your newly created album, in iPhoto, to not Facebook or Flickr but iCloud. Is that like the old Mobile Me gallery? I would call it gallery lite.
  • iPad Cameras

    Are people really using the iPad to take photos? I've seen it happen once and at a concert in a smallish venue. The guy was annoying and looked kinda' stupid holding up that big old device
  • so what

    IR filter all digital cameras have them so what is the big deal
  • Need a better front camera

    Would have prefered to delete rear camera (does anyone really use it, just curious) and improve the front camera for video chat and tele-conferencing.
  • Unbelievable

    It is unbelievable how someone, especially a supposed camera enthusiast, is touting the virtues of the biggest 5 megapixel camera on earth and the idea of using iPhoto on a 9.7" screen. Seriously, is anyone really going to buy the iPad so that you can apply "professional quality" effects to photos made on an iPad?
  • iPad camera

    I love how the new iPad camera locaction is the same only a bit larger lens but that won't stop me from taking pictures when it's in my iBackFlip Somersault iPad sling pack! If you haven't seen this thinng then you have to check it out at!
    supporting american design and manufacturing this company is! -YODA-
  • goodsoft$35.99-:-windows/