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.

ipad air arrive 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.

Related Roundups: iPad mini, iPad, iPad Air
Related Forum: iPad

Top Rated Comments

alchemistmuffin Avatar
12 months ago
There is a chance Apple might refresh it during the October event, even though it’s in mid-product cycle. They won’t leave the product in this condition considering the cheaper product has more advanced features.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
n0va Avatar
12 months ago
man, if only the iPad Air had a 12MP Ultra Wide Front Camera With Center Stage
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheRoadRunner Avatar
12 months ago
The iPad Air is really hard to recommend now, with the 11” pro and mini surrounding it, the latter at a lower price.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Crow_Servo Avatar
12 months ago

So you're telling me the $329 iPad now has Center State, but the iPhone Pro's do not?? How come Apple isn't bring this feature to the iPhone?
Because you'll probably be holding the iPhone during a video chat, so you can just adjust the angle yourself. With the iPad, you'll have it sitting on a surface, and it's more difficult to adjust the angle.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DFZD Avatar
12 months ago
It's a last year model so isn't that ridiculous to write an article about it?

Sometimes I think the forum users should form a committee to make rules for the portal area.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bodonnell202 Avatar
12 months ago

iPad Air update in the spring – Center Stage + new colourways?
Likely - it will be updated to align with the iPad Mini by Spring 2022. It's the first time ever that the Mini has been more advanced than the Air.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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