The M1 iPad Pro is a macro king, but don't expect an iPhone to be the same

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max cameras
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max cameras (Image credit: Apple)

Today saw the news that the brand new M1 iPad Pro is quite the macro photography whizz thanks to the new camera system used up front. That's excellent news for anyone wanting to walk around with an iPad as their camera, but what about those of us who want to just use our iPhone to get the job done? Unfortunately, it doesn't look like we can expect iPhone 13 to pull off a similar trick.

The folk behind Halide noted that the new ultrawide camera used in the new iPad Pro allows for some astonishing macro shots to be taken. But developer Sebastiaan de With also noted that the only reason this is possible is likely to be down to the extra room Apple's engineers have to play with. Basically, the iPad Pro is a chonky boi and our itty bitty iPhones likely don't have to room to spare. He's probably right, too.

Writing about the photos coming out of the new iPad Pro, de With said:

I was pretty astonished. Lots of detail, despite iPad's smaller sensors. One of the reasons iPads might focus closer than your iPhone is that Apple doesn't have to worry about the device fitting in your pocket. Having such flexibility with the layout of the camera module might be the difference allowing for this splendid little superpower. Sadly, this also means we are guessing this is not coming to the iPhone anytime soon.

Dewith Ipad Pro Mechanical Photo

Dewith Ipad Pro Mechanical Photo (Image credit: Sebastiaan de With)

And that right there is a shame, even though it makes tons of sense. Other companies already offer macro lenses of some sort and it's possible Apple could still come up with something special for the rear-facing cameras in a future iPad. But in the meantime, it's good to know that Apple does have what it takes to build a great macro lens. Even if it did happen sort of by accident and you'll need to lug a giant slab of glass around to use it.

Oh well. Beggars can't be choosers, as they say.

All that being said, the humble iPhone 12 Pro Max is still the best iPhone for photographers that you can buy today.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.