A couple of months ago, Apple made a big fuss about the greatly improved camera in the new iPad. Five megapixels, 1080p video, advanced optics, and so on.
My reaction: meh.
I need a camera in alike I need a radio in a toaster. It's just not a feature I have much use for, and in fact I've rarely used it at all. I suspect I'm not alone in this sentiment, as evidenced by the massive popularity of Amazon's lens-free .
And, really, tablets make crummy cameras, at least in some respects. Whether it's a 7-inch model or a 10-inch, you need two extremely steady hands to hold it for a crisp snapshot or a video that isn't shaky. The big screen makes a nice viewfinder, to be sure, but I think it looks and feels weird to use something that big to take a photo.
The one saving grace? FaceTime, Skype, and other video chat apps. The bigger the screen, the better. Of course, I know very few people who actually like video calls; most folks try it once or twice as a novelty, then go back to plain old voice calls.
And, yes, there are some slick camera-drive apps that work better on a tablet. My kids dig the FaceGoo and VideoFX Live are more fun with a bigger screen. I especially like , which benefits greatly from the iPad's spacious display.'s Photo Booth, and apps like
All this raises the question: How important is a camera in a tablet? Do you consider it an essential feature, something that's nice to have but not necessary, or completely superfluous? Vote in our poll, then share your thoughts in the comments.
And while you're in a voting mood, share your thoughts on the. I'm still partial to the 7-inch form factor.