Joanna Stern and John Gruber Discuss Apple M1 Transition and 'Craptastic' 720p FaceTime Cameras

In a new interview for CNBC, The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern and Daring Fireball's John Gruber discussed their thoughts about Apple's transition to Apple Silicon with the M1 and showed a real-world comparison of the new MacBook Pro's 720p camera.

During the course of the interview, it became apparent that Gruber was using the ‌M1‌ MacBook Pro's built-in webcam, while Stern actively chose to use an external camera connected to the ‌M1‌ MacBook Pro. The result is a clear comparison between the MacBook Pro's 720p camera and an external camera in a realistic video-call use-case.

Though it is clear that the cameras are different, the quality of the MacBook Pro's camera does seem to be a surprising step up from previous generations. This is likely because the ‌M1‌ chip's Image Signal Processor enables sharper images, as well as more detail in shadows and highlights on video calls.

In August, Apple upgraded the 27-inch iMac's camera from 720p to 1080p, but the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro remained at 720p resolution.

Amid glowing reviews for the M1-powered Macs, the 720p camera was the most heavily maligned aspect of the new ‌MacBook Air‌ and MacBook Pro. For example, The Verge's Nilay Patel said, "We really considered giving these machines 10 out of 10 review scores, but this camera is bad enough to keep that from happening, especially on a pro laptop that costs more than the Air."

Related Roundups: MacBook Air, 13" MacBook Pro
Related Forums: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro

Top Rated Comments

Return Zero Avatar
14 months ago
I prefer a low quality webcam. I don’t want my coworkers and classmates getting too clear of a look at me ?
Score: 72 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MvdM Avatar
14 months ago
The video of the lady with the big camera was not that sharp.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iFan Avatar
14 months ago
Am I blind or did the video quality between Joanna and Gruber look very similar? I wouldn't have guessed that she was using an external 1080P camera, but perhaps compression was killing her quality?

*typing this from my 480p capable 2015 MacBook*
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ? Avatar
14 months ago
What's so hard about upgrading to 1080HD Camera??? Are they rare or what?
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ThatOneAwkwardGuy Avatar
14 months ago

Given the constraint of thin display frame, I am fine with 720p resolution. I certainly wouldn't want the camera bump. However, it would be great if Apple can figure out a way to increase the image sensor for better exposure and low light performance.
You mean a constraint Apple put on themselves?
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Seanm87 Avatar
14 months ago

What's so hard about upgrading to 1080HD Camera??? Are they rare or what?
Lid is too thin
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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