Along with the new iPad Pro, Apple announced a new camera feature for its premium tablet series: Center Stage. It’s pretty interesting, really, and the function basically leverages off machine learning technology and the iPad Pro’s Ultra Wide camera to “help keep you and anyone else with you” in frame during FaceTime video calls.
According to Apple’s support page, the feature is only supported on the iPad Pro 12.9″ (5th generation) and the iPad Pro 11″ (3rd generation), and prior to this, was only supported on Facetime—to my knowledge, that is. However, Zoom has now added support on the latest version of its iOS (and iPadOS) app, which means that Center Stage is now supported on the popular video call platform.
A quick explanation of how Center Stage works on the 2021 iPad Pro. Essentially, it’s supposed to automatically detect people in frame, and compatible iPads will pan and zoom to keep these people in frame during video calls. The feature is also designed to recognise when more people join—or leave—the conversation (from one location), and it’s supposed to adjust the frame to squeeze everyone in as best as it can.
And while it was first introduced with FaceTime (of course), Apple also made the API available to third party developers. As such, Zoom has now included support for iOS version 5.6.6 (423) or later, and the feature will only work with the 5th generation 12.9″ iPad Pro. Strangely, the 11″ iPad Pro isn’t included here.
Regardless, this is how you enable Center Stage in a Zoom meeting:
- Start or join a Zoom meeting or webinar.
- Tap the screen to bring up meeting controls.
- On the top-left corner, tap Turn On Center Stage to enable the video tracking.
- To disable Center Stage video tracking, tap Turn Off Center Stage.
To do so for FaceTime, the instructions are fairly similar:
- Open the Settings app, then tap FaceTime.
- Turn Center Stage on or off.
- You can also turn on Center Stage during a FaceTime video call by swiping up from the bottom and tapping the Center Stage button.
In any case, if you’re keen to find out if the iPad Pro is worth the (expensive) buy, especially when you compare it to the more-than-capable-but-much-more-affordable current generation iPad Air, watch this:
So, what do you think? Let us know what you think in the comments below. Personally, I’ve yet to try out the Center Stage feature, so share your experiences below as well.