In fact, the iPad 2’s camera has more in common with the low-res camera in the iPod Touch than it does to the rather excellent one in the iPhone 4.
The specs for the iPad’s rear-facing camera only lists one number: 720p. That should mean 1280 x 720 pixels, which gives a megapixel figure of 0.92, clearly useless for stills.
However, flip over to the iPod Touch camera specs and we see the following: “HD (720p) up to 30 frames per second with audio; still photos (960 x 720) with back camera.” Yes, the Touch shoots stills at an even lower resolution than video, most likely because the wide-screen movie format is squared-off to shoot stills. The stills it produces are just shy of 0.7 megapixels, or about the same resolution as an early 1990s-era digital camera.
It’s extremely likely that the iPad 2 and the iPod Touch share the exact same camera (although we won’t know for sure until iFixit tears one open to see). It seems that it will be fine for movies, and bad for photos.
Then again, with the camera connection kit you can always just import images from a real camera. And for taking notes, snapping menus or grabbing pictures before grunging them up and sending them off to Instagram, it’ll do the trick.
Still, for a device that costs a minimum of $500, it would be nice to have a better image sensor, rather than these bottom-of-the-barrel ones Apple insists on using. Will we ever get one? It’s starting to look rather doubtful