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.
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.
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 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.