All Right, Apple, Let's Talk About The iPod Touch's Camera

I’ve been putting this post off for a while, since I decided at the launch of the new iPod touch that I would give Apple the benefit of the doubt and not pursue this particular issue, since hey, it was Apple’s special day, and I didn’t want to spoil it by nagging them. But as CrunchGear’s resident non-expert on imaging devices and sensors, I just have to ask: what the hell is up with the iPod touch’s camera?

Here’s the thing. It does 720p video — that’s 1280×720 pixels. But then, for stills, it can only do 960×720. I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t make any sense. Apple is fudging the numbers one way or the other, and you’re being cheated out of a good number of pixels.

Yes, I realize this is nitpicking. But the fact that Apple would take this liberty without explaining it bothers me.

Look, either the sensor is capable of 960×720, or it’s capable of 720p. If it’s only capable of the lower resolution, then Apple is upscaling the image to get 720p, which is basically lying about their image quality. That’s why I’d rather believe that it’s otherwise, and the sensor is capable of 720p. If that’s the case, though, the sensor is likely capable of several times that resolution for stills; it’s just the way these things are set up, their data throughputs, image processors, and so on — if it can do 1280×720 pixels 30 times per second, it usually has enough sensor data to put together a couple megapixels. So why the 960×720?

Unfortunately, there’s no answer. But really, this sensor should be capable of far more. At the very least, 1280×720.

I’ve contacted Apple about this several times, but have gotten no response, a response in itself which I think justifies this little rant. It also seems as though such a limitation, if indeed on is placed on the camera, would have been detected by hackers and code spelunkers by now. All I know is the resolution discrepancy has been bothering the imaging technology pedant in me for a good couple months now.