Apple’s iPad Camera Fail

Unless you’ve been living in a box today, you know that Apple finally unveiled the tablet iPad today. The biggest surprise about the announcement was the lack of a camera on the lap sized PC. No camera, really? If you don’t believe it, check the official spec page.

Besides the implications for augmented reality, which I’ll get to in a moment, the iPad not having a camera is a giant fail.  I actually expected the iPad to have two cameras.  One forward-looking so the iPad could function as a giant Polaroid and the other user-facing so videos could be recorded.  We could forgive eliminating one of them, probably the forward-looking one since its so big, but not having the user-facing camera is inexcusable.

The series of tubes we call the Internet has moved beyond simple text.  People want to record and upload videos straight to YouTube without having to yank out their dust-covered hand held or use Skype to call their friends while they’re watching the game.

The Apple iPad not having even one camera is like hooking up satellite without DVR.  Sure you can do it, but why?

Of course, I’m being overly melodramatic here.

The real point to the iPad is competition for the Kindle, eReader and the Nook.  Apple wants to revolutionize the way we read magazines, books and newspapers.  Functionality for augmented reality isn’t even an afterthought.  How many people are using their camera lying in bed reading an interactive book?

And is this a major setback for augmented reality?  Not really.  A giant-sized magic lens would add a fun new canvas to play with, but really wouldn’t be a game changer.  Additionally, Apple isn’t expecting the tablet market to come even close to the smartphone market in sales.

So in the end, the iPad is a fail for augmented reality, but will probably give Jeff Bezos nightmares for months as he wonders how he’s going to compete against a Pentium 286 when he’s selling a Commodore 64.

And maybe, just maybe, Steve Jobs is still working on a see-through AR-enabled HMD.  Then I’d say, all is forgiven Stevie, I’m coming home to Apple.

18 Responses

  1. It really is a shame with the lack of camera(s). maybe apple designers couldn’t decide where to put it and couldnt come to an agreement over symmetry and for the idea of “doesnt matter how I hold it, it adjusts”. :-)

    the next no-go is the lack of multitasking (still). besides it seems to be a pretty neat product (if you are willing to bond with apple for your life).

    lets see that HMD, Steve! :-)
    cheers.

  2. No camera or usb, it fails peroid. As a device.
    Its an expensive ebook reader with a screen poor for that job and a low battery life.
    I just dont see any serious use for the device at all :-/

    The whole idea of eBooks is they are like books…the battery life is long enough for it to essentially not mater. The screen high-contrast reflection based and thus very readable.

    The only use I can see for this is more for magazines/comics, which arnt well supported by existing devices.
    But even for that its quite pricey.

  3. No doubt they’ll release a version next year with a camera, or otherwise a series of other ‘new’ things that a software update alone would probably have accomplished.

  4. Nice summary Thomas. Could not agree more.

    There is certainly a place for tablets in the hardware ecosystem, and we will likely see a Gen 2 from Apple in a year that includes a camera (hopefully 2 cameras).

    I think many people (including myself) were looking for an excuse to leave their laptops behind… this is not it. It addition to no camera, there is no multitasking ability, no Flash… hence no full web experience.

    When it comes to AR.. sure, the larger screen would allow for bigger and better visual experiences… but I agree with your point that this device (or any tablet) will not be the game changer for AR. How many minutes will you hold that pad up in front of your face?

    Apple disappointed me this round. But I am with you… they can still redeem themselves with the announcement of iSight, iWear, iGlasses, or iShades….??

    – Brian

  5. For a laptop replacement I think the new Eee multi touch is pretty attractive;
    http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=KIqtSJ1aVsmVpeqS
    Same price bracket, not as slim, but much more functional.
    No camera either though.

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  7. eBay currently has available about a million or three touch screen gadgets from China, all under $50, that will play video, audio, record, FM, have proper file browsers and cameras for still and video, 32 GB of mass storage, no software required.
    All they miss is wireless, and a browser.
    Less than $50, all day, every day.

    Now, at this point, there is no way I will ever buy anything Apple makes, on principle.

    But if they even began to show me something, I could at least respect them a little.

    Right now, they represent to me everything that is wrong and ugly. Folks are apologizing for it everywhere.
    It is not a computer!
    It is not for geeks!
    It is not….!

    They are correct.
    Now, who is wrong here? Probably me, I suppose.
    No doubt, the 70 million with iPhones are salivating for this crapgadget, and the lines will form around the corner.

    Fine, but I don’t have to like it.
    Nor do I have to respect the sheep that follow to the pens.

    Thank God for Microsoft, and the industrious Chinese, who will probably have a better performing, cheaper copy available before apple’s crippled gadget has time to begin snaking its way into the numbskull’s bank accounts.

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