How photo-tastic is the all new iPad?

iPhoto on the new iPad

Whenever I see someone taking a photo with her or his iPad, it makes me cringe. There's something about it that looks so very wrong, especially when you consider that cameras have been growing progressively smaller, making the iPad as a camera seem counter-intuitive. However, the camera is there, which means that it is going to happen.

More than that, in fact, it's meant to happen. Apple has stuffed an f/2.4 aperture, five megapixel lens into its latest version, which might not compare with some of the hottest compacts out there, but it's more than enough for someone wanting to snap a casual shot, as is its 1080p HD video capability. No, there's no optical zoom, but tap the screen and you can adjust exposure whilst the auto-focus capability can cope with up to ten faces in one photo.

This is just what's needed in a portable device that's designed for communication: it's part of the territory of social media. Snap the photo, give it a bit of a tweak, and send it straight to Facebook or Twitter or wherever else you want to share it.

And with iPhoto that gives you the ability to adjust exposure, white balance, and colour saturation, not to mention use multi-touch gestures to change this, that, and the other, as well as add effects and geo-tag, it turns the iPad into a one-stop social media shop. That's probably especially true with the inclusion of Journal, which allows you to make an album of your images, complete with notes and maps.

But even if the thought of taking photos with an iPad gives you the shudders, don't overlook its 2048 × 1536 resolution Retina display with 3.1 million pixels that are so close together the eye can't distinguish them as individuals. That's going to make it fairly awesome when it comes to viewing images. Right now, the iPad might be a rather expensive photoframe, but what some professional photographers were using to show proofs to their clients has just got a whole lot better. And what started with the iPhone has moved to the iPad; where is it heading next?

So yes, I might think that taking a photo on an iPad makes you look a few shades of silly, but it makes some sort of sense. More pertinent to me, though, is that I'm excited to see where these developments are going to lead when it comes to editing, viewing, and sharing my own photos. The iPad still falls well short of my needs right now, but it doesn't mean to say that it won't in future iterations.