Report: The new iPad Pro has a “superpower” that you may not know about

The new iPad Pro comes with some significant upgrades over its predecessor—especially when you consider how Apple has only really released incremental updates to its premium tablet since 2018. One of these improvements is the front-facing ultra-wide camera, which is equipped to support Apple’s Center Stage software (supported on Facetime and Zoom, so far).

But there is even more to the M1 iPad Pro’s cameras than meets the eye, apparently. Camera experts over at Lux, the creators of the popular camera app Halide, have taken a “deep dive” into the iPad Pro’s camera capabilities. In the process, the developers claim to have discovered a “superpower”—one that Apple hasn’t even mentioned so far.

The iPad “superpower”

The developers tested out a 12.9″ iPad Pro, and during the process, they discovered that the iPad Pro can take some “incredible” macro shots—no accessories or lenses needed. The “iPad basically comes with a microscope”, outdoing the iPhone 12 Pro Max for macro photography by some margin.

Have a look at some samples, courtesy of Lux:

The discovery was actually made by accident, with the testers finding out that the iPad Pro’s camera “perfectly” focused on their pants—while the iPad was placed on their lap. Here’s how they explained it:

“I was pretty astonished. Lots of detail, despite iPad’s smaller sensors. One of the reasons iPads might focus closer than your iPhone is that Apple doesn’t have to worry about the device fitting in your pocket. Having such flexibility with the layout of the camera module might be the difference allowing for this splendid little superpower. Sadly, this also means we are guessing this is not coming to the iPhone anytime soon.”

Lux

Funnily enough, the LiDAR sensor (first introduced on last year’s iPad Pro) hampers this “superpower” in a way. LiDAR is, among other things, used to assist the cameras with autofocus, so if you really want to take some nice macro shots, use an app with a manual focus mode. Halide is an example of this, which is a convenient way for the developers to plug the app into the story. Still, it’s pretty cool.

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Other interesting stuff they found out includes how the iPad Pro’s supposed dual camera system is actually made up of a single physical camera—and second lens that is entirely software-based.

“The M1 iPad Pro has those 12 megapixels packed into the front-facing camera system to enable a more seamless ‘dual camera system’: one that is entirely created in software. The camera is ultra-wide and only ultra-wide; thanks to software corrections and extra megapixels, the system can just crop that wide and detailed camera feed down to its old focal length.”

Lux

It all makes for some interesting reading, so if you have the time, click here for the full breakdown. Meanwhile, you can also read our coverage on the new iPad Pro down in the related reading section down below. And as always, share your thoughts in the comments below!

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