A new iPad Air is expected sometime between now and the end of October, so it makes sense that rumors about the features, components and the actual release date will start to pick up in the coming weeks. There was an interesting but odd leak this week about the new iPad Air’s camera that I’m having trouble wrapping my head around.
This one comes from @Komiya_kj on Twitter, a leaker who’s been putting out a lot of iPhone and iPad content lately and getting more and more attention.
iPad Air 4 may have only Ultra Wide camera
— Komiya (@komiya_kj) August 7, 2020
Short and sweet. He follow this Tweet with another saying that the camera would be 12 megapixels.
Ok, so this all seems kind of strange to me. First off, the current iPad Pros have a 10 MP Ultra Wide camera. Apple adding a 12 MP to the Air really doesn’t make much sense unless the iPhone 12 Pro gets a bump to 12 MP and the two devices are announced at the same time. Even then, with the Air being a mid-range tablet, you wouldn’t expect it to get the latest camera, especially if the latest iPad Pro doesn’t have it. That just creates spec confusion.
Maybe this is a bit of miscommunication or a detail getting lost in translation. The current standard Wide Angle camera on the iPad Pro is 12 MP. Maybe the Air is getting a single camera that is on par with the 2020 Pros. That makes FAR more sense to me.
Secondly, why would Apple use an Ultra Wide lens on a device with only one camera? I thought about it for a while and I really can’t understand the thought process that would lead to this being a real decision. Ultra Wides are great for some things like landscapes and large family photos and the distortion and focal length makes for some interesting and dramatic effect shots. I absolutely love having an Ultra Wide lens as a built-in option on my iPhone 11 Pro.
However, the Ultra Wide lens lacks the versatility of the standard Wide Angle. It isn’t as good in low light. It distorts and bends at the edges, which is great for effect, but not always ideal. It just doesn’t seem like a great fit, especially for an iPad. For those who are using their tablets for work and school, the camera is going to see a lot of use scanning documents and pages of different kinds. An Ultra Wide lens is objectively inferior for this task. For this reason, I won’t believe this rumor is real unless Craig Federighi drops the news via a streamed product event.
I can’t help but be interested in all of the latest iPad rumors. We still have some time to wait for Apple motherlode, so what else is there to do at the moment? However, beyond a few leakers who have earned the right to be trusted in all of their predictions, you have to be skeptical. Some leaks are going to be flat-out false- either misinformation or just lies for clicks. Other reports will be from sources who don’t have the whole story. Maybe they are reporting as fact something that was merely part of a test or a prototype that wasn’t approved. And with sources and reports going around the world in real-time, there are the barriers of language and translation to consider, as well.
I think that last bit makes the most sense here. The fact that @Komiya_kj reported this new iPad Air Ultra Wide camera would be 12 MP makes me think that the Air is getting the same 12 MP Wide Angle camera as the 2020 iPad Pros. That’s the smart choice for a single camera and it fits with how Apple treats other mid-tier devices like the iPhone 11. If I had to bet today, that’s what I’m putting my money on.
What do you think about this iPad Air camera rumor? Does Apple using an Ultra Wide Angle lens for a single-camera device make sense to you? Let me know in the Comments section below or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog.