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, MacBook Pro 13"

Top Rated Comments

Return Zero Avatar
15 weeks 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
15 weeks ago
The video of the lady with the big camera was not that sharp.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iFan Avatar
15 weeks 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)
Theyayarealivin Avatar
15 weeks ago
What's so hard about upgrading to 1080HD Camera??? Are they rare or what?
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ThatOneAwkwardGuy Avatar
15 weeks 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
15 weeks ago

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

Top Stories

iphone 6 in hand

Apple Faces Another iPhone Lawsuit Over 'Programmed Obsolescence'

Monday March 1, 2021 6:44 am PST by
Apple faces a new class-action lawsuit that accuses it of deliberately releasing iOS updates that slowly reduce the performance of an iPhone, forcing customers to upgrade their devices. The lawsuit comes from the Portuguese Consumer Protection Agency, Deco Proteste (via Marketeer), which in a statement says that it will proceed with a case against the Cupertino tech giant because it...
PIA23764 RoverNamePlateonMars web

NASA Mars Perseverance Rover Uses Same PowerPC Chipset Found in 1998 G3 iMac

Tuesday March 2, 2021 3:21 am PST by
NASA's Perseverance rover, which recently made history landing on the surface of Mars, is powered by the same processor used in an iMac more than 23 years old. Image Credit: NASA As reported by NewScientist (via Gizmodo), the rover includes the PowerPC 750 processor, the same chip used in the G3 iMac in 1998. The main chipset is the same; however, there are differences between the...
magsafe charging brick feature

Prosser: iPhone 12 MagSafe Battery Pack to Feature Reverse Charging

Monday March 1, 2021 1:18 pm PST by
Apple is working on MagSafe-compatible battery packs that will be compatible with the iPhone 12 models, and leaker Jon Prosser today said on the Genius Bar podcast that one version of the battery pack will feature "reverse charging." According to Prosser, Apple is working on two versions of the battery packs, one that's a standard version and one that's a premium version with reverse...
iphone 12 pro display video

iPhone 13 to Include 1TB Storage Option and LiDAR Across the Board, Says Wedbush Analyst

Monday March 1, 2021 4:00 am PST by
Apple's forthcoming iPhone 13 could include a 1TB storage option for some models and LiDAR Scanners across the entire lineup, according to a report from Wedbush analysts. In a new note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives said that initial Asian supply chain checks gave the firm "increased confidence" that Apple's 5G-driven product cycle would extend well into 2022,...
Top Stories 47 Feature copy

Top Stories: MacBook Pro, iMac, and AirPods Rumors, macOS 11.2.2, MagSafe Wallet Revisited

Saturday February 27, 2021 6:00 am PST by
March is right around the corner, and that means our first good opportunity for Apple product launches in 2021 as the company frequently has significant launches in March or April each year. We're hearing rumors about MacBook Pro, iMac, AirPods, and more, although many of these will be coming out at different times over the course of the year. This week also saw a macOS update to address a ...
microsoft edge ios android

Bill Gates Says His Preference for Android Over iPhone is Due to Pre-Installed Software

Friday February 26, 2021 3:35 am PST by
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates this week participated in his first meeting on Clubhouse, the increasingly popular invite-only conversation app, where he fielded a range of questions as part of an ongoing book tour. Gates was interviewed by journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin, and given that the Clubhouse app is currently only available on iOS, naturally one of the questions that came up was...
iphone 12 120hz thumbnail feature

Kuo: iPhone 13 Lineup to Feature Smaller Notch and Larger Batteries, 120Hz Display for Pro Models, and More

Monday March 1, 2021 7:50 am PST by
iPhone 13 models will all feature a smaller notch, while the two Pro models will be equipped with low-power LTPO display technology for a 120Hz refresh rate, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note obtained by MacRumors. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Several other sources have previously claimed that some iPhone 13 models will support a 120Hz refresh...
maxresdefault

HomeKit Essentials Worth Checking Out

Saturday February 27, 2021 7:05 am PST by
HomeKit was slow to take off after its 2014 launch, but now that it's been around for seven years, there are hundreds of HomeKit products available, ranging from doorbells and speakers to TVs, lights, and cameras. In our latest YouTube video, we rounded up some of our favorite HomeKit products that we find most useful. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. HomePod...
First Look Big Sur Feature2

Apple Releases macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 to Prevent MacBooks From Being Damaged by Third-Party Non-Compliant Docks

Thursday February 25, 2021 10:07 am PST by
Apple today released macOS Big Sur 11.2.2, the fourth update to the macOS Big Sur operating system that launched in November. macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 comes two weeks after the release of macOS Big Sur 11.2.1, a bug fix update. The new ‌‌‌‌macOS Big Sur‌‌‌ 11.2.2‌ update can be downloaded for free on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Preferences....
Apple Prefer Lightning Over USB C Feature

iPhone Sticking With Lightning Port Over USB-C for 'Foreseeable Future'

Tuesday March 2, 2021 9:32 am PST by
Apple will retain the Lightning connector on the iPhone for the "foreseeable future," with no intention of switching to USB-C, according to reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In spite of much of the industry moving toward USB-C, Apple will not be using it to replace the Lightning connector on the iPhone 13, or indeed on any iPhone model for the time being. In a note seen by MacRumors yesterday,...