Apple Claims It Will Fix Studio Display’s Disappointing Webcam Performance with a Software Update

BY Chandraveer Mathur

Published 17 Mar 2022

Studio Display

The first wave of reviews of the Apple Studio Display concurred that the monitor’s built-in webcam didn’t have the best image quality. Some reviewers likened it to an Old BlackBerry, while others didn’t leave anything to the imagination and called it “awful.”

To get you up to speed, Apple introduced the Studio Display at its Peek performance event on March 8 alongside the iPad Air 5, iPhone SE 3, and Mac Studio powered by the M1 Ultra chip. The standalone display has several specifications going in its favor, such as six speakers with Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio support, 5K resolution, and an A13 Bionic processor inside that drives the integrated camera during FaceTime Calls.

This camera did not live up to the expectations of the reviewers. It seems capable on paper since it is a 12MP sensor paired with an ultra-wide lens and an A13 Bionic to enable software features such as Center Stage. The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern notes that, in theory, the Studio Display’s camera should be comparable to the iPhone 11 Pro’s front-facing camera.

“Yet Apple’s camera consistently produced grainy and washed-out images. There was so much missing detail in some of the shots that it reminded me of the camera on my old BlackBerry. On the plus side: No one could see my frizzy hair.”

The Verge’s Nilay Patel had the same opinion of the Studio Display’s camera.

“The bad part is that I have no idea what’s going on with this webcam. Apple has a long history of producing amazing images with 12-megapixel sensors and A-series chips, and for some reason, this thing just looks awful.”

“Actually, it looks awful in good light, and downright miserable in low light. I’ve tried it connected to the Mac Studio and on my MacBook Pro running macOS 12.3, and on both machines, it produces a grainy, noisy image with virtually no detail. I tried it in FaceTime, in Zoom, in Photo Booth, in QuickTime – you name it, it’s the same sad image quality. Turning off the Center Stage feature that follows you around the room doesn’t help. Turning portrait mode on and off doesn’t help.”

An Apple spokesperson told Stern and Patel, “We discovered an issue where the system isn’t behaving as expected. We’ll be making improvements in a future software update.” However, the company did not say what improvements would be made and when we can expect the issue to be resolved.

For now, we hope this is a software issue, and Apple doesn’t need to defer deliveries or recall Studio Display after they are shipped to customers to fix the problem. Is the poor webcam quality of the Studio Display a deal-breaker for you? Tell us in the comments.