Apple Says Improvements to Studio Display's Webcam Coming in Software Update After Several Poor Reviews

The first reviews have surfaced for Apple's new Studio Display, and one common point among reviewers was that the built-in webcam's image quality ranges anywhere from an "old BlackBerry" to downright "awful" in their hands-on testing.

studio display webcam
The Studio Display features a 12-megapixel Ultra Wide front camera that can be used for the likes of FaceTime and Zoom calls. While the camera is a welcomed addition compared to the webcam-less Pro Display XDR, reviewers have criticized the image quality.

The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern:

You can understand why I anticipated that the Studio Display's webcam would be the GOAT (Greatest of All Time). With a 12-megapixel camera and the A13 Bionic chip, it should be on par with the front-facing camera of an iPhone 11 Pro.

Yet Apple's camera consistently produced grainy and washed-out images. There was so much missing detail in some of the shots that it reminded me of the camera on my old BlackBerry. On the plus side: No one could see my frizzy hair.

The Verge's Nilay Patel:

The bad part is that I have no idea what's going on with this webcam. Apple has a long history of producing amazing images with 12 megapixel sensors and A-series chips, and for some reason this thing just looks awful.

Actually, it looks awful in good light, and downright miserable in low light. I've tried it connected to the Mac Studio and on my MacBook Pro running macOS 12.3, and on both machines it produces a grainy, noisy image with virtually no detail. I tried it in FaceTime, in Zoom, in Photo Booth, in QuickTime – you name it, it's the same sad image quality. Turning off the Center Stage feature that follows you around the room doesn't help. Turning portrait mode on and off doesn't help.

In response to inquiries about the webcam's quality, an Apple spokesperson told both Stern and Patel that Apple "discovered an issue where the system is not behaving as expected" and will be "making improvements in a software update." Apple did not specify what the "improvements" will be made, and no timeframe was provided for the update.

We've rounded up reviews of both the Studio Display and the Mac Studio for those interested in a hands-on look at both new products.

Related Forum: Mac Accessories

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Top Rated Comments

icanhazmac Avatar
31 months ago
How could this possibly get past the testing phase and make it all the way to release without a fix? Embarrassing.
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WiiDSmoker Avatar
31 months ago
Ship now fix later. Seems to be the new Apple trend.
Score: 42 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ian87w Avatar
31 months ago
You're looking at your webcam wrong. ?
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
alexjholland Avatar
31 months ago
Apple is famous for two things.

* Fantastic iPhone cameras
* Horrible webcams

Why?
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
fwmireault Avatar
31 months ago
It became quite frequent that apple release hardware without optimizing the necessary software beforehand, like the 120 hz on Safari on the latest MBP. Really think they need to step up their game for software, because on the long run, this is hurting their image

This display unfortunately looks more and more like a half-baked, rushed product
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kc9hzn Avatar
31 months ago

Joanna Stern is already calling it webcamgate. Good grief.
Here’s a modest proposal: anyone who unironically uses the -gate suffix should immediately be permanently banned from their social media accounts (and should be fired and blacklisted, if they’re a professional journalist).
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)