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iPad Air Now the Only iPad in Apple’s Lineup That Lacks 12MP Ultra Wide Front Camera With Center Stage

Yesterday during Apple’s virtual “California streaming” event, Apple debuted a refreshed ninth-generation entry-level iPad ($329) and a redesigned sixth-generation iPad mini ($499). Like the iPad Pro, both devices include a 12-megapixel Ultra Wide front camera enabling Center Stage, which makes the iPad Air ($579) the only tablet in Apple’s lineup that lacks this feature.


Center Stage is a feature that automatically keeps users perfectly framed during video calls, and it does this by using the much larger field of view of the Ultra Wide front camera.

As users move around, Center Stage automatically pans to keep them in the shot. When other people join in on the call, the camera detects them too, and smoothly zooms out to fit everyone into the view and make sure they are part of the conversation.

Apple debuted the feature in April with the latest ‌iPad Pro‌. At the time, it was thought the machine learning capabilities of Apple’s M1 chip were required to power the feature, but given that the new iPad and iPad mini use A13 and A15 Bionic chips, respectively, that’s patently not the case.

The current ‌iPad Air‌, which debuted in September 2020, has an A14 Bionic processor, but only a f/2.0, 7-megapixel front-facing FaceTime HD Camera for selfies and video calls, making it incompatible with Center Stage. The ‌iPad Air‌ is in its mid-product cycle, however, so it’s likely to get the 12-megapixel Ultra Wide front camera in a refresh, perhaps early next year.

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