In a bid to improve the video-calling experience on its devices, Apple announced a feature called Center Stage in 2021 that allowed users of compatible devices to remain in the frame during a video call. The pandemic saw more people switch to video calls to stay in touch with family and friends. It also became a necessary tool for students and workers who had to study and work from home.
Several companies tried to improve the experience in several ways. While some released new hardware or programs, others added new features to existing apps. For example, the Google Meet app got new background features to make video calls realistic, and just recently, Google announced portrait lighting for Google Meet. The feature uses machine learning to improve the lighting condition during video calls.
When making a video call, a user might need to move around, causing them to move out of the camera’s focus. However, that can be mitigated with Center Stage, which automatically pans when a user moves to keep them within the frame of the video. Center Stage not only works when one person is making a video call but also adapts the view by zooming out when the camera detects someone else has joined in on the call. According to Apple, the feature works by using “machine learning to adjust the front-facing ultra-wide camera” of a compatible device.
An Ultra-Wide Front Camera Is Required
Center Stage is not available on all Apple devices with a front-facing camera. The device must have an ultra-wide-angle front-facing camera for the feature to work, and only a handful of iPads have the feature. Among them are the iPad Pro 11 (2021) and iPad Pro 12.9 (2021), which both debuted with the feature in 2021. Both devices have a 12MP 122-degree ultra-wide-angle camera. In addition to these two are the 6th generation iPad Mini and the 5th generation iPad Air announced in Sept. 2021 and March 2022, respectively. Both have Center Stage since they are equipped with the same 12MP camera as the iPad Pro.
Another iPad with this feature is the 9th generation iPad which was launched in September. Apple also ships it with the same 12MP ultra-wide camera as the models mentioned above. Unfortunately, no iPhone supports Center Stage as none of them has an ultrawide angle camera. However, another Apple device that supports the feature is the Studio Display.