Who would actually use the selfie flash on a 9.7" iPad Pro?The most surprising feature of Apple's new, smaller iPad Pro isn't the underclocked CPU or the unexpectedly excellent 4K-capable rear camera. No —the most astonishing addition is Retina Flash.
For the uninitiated, Retina Flash is Apple's answer to the age-old question "how can I make my selfies in the club look better?" Rather than add another component —an LED flash —to the front side of the iPhone, Apple instead cranks the display up to 11 when you're in selfie mode.
Much ado was made of this feature when it was introduced in the iPhone 6s, and for good reason; it actually works quite well. It even samples the light in the room and adjusts the color of the display to compensate, just like the True Tone flash on the back.
But the iPad Pro isn't a phone. It's an iPad.
Since the iPad first evolved into a camera-toting organism, those who use them to take photos have been nearly universally ridiculed. Countless photos of concert crowds holding smartphones aloft center on that one guy holding up his iPad like the bat signal, ruining the view for everyone behind him.
So why does this monument to photographic failure merit a 5-megapixel FaceTime camera with Retina Flash? We're honestly not sure.
Some might accuse Apple of pandering to Asian markets, home to some of the worst breakers of the tablet photo taboo. Others may simply say, "well why not?"
We offer a more mundane idea: some of the technology used in the Retina Flash's ambient color matching may cross with that used for the iPad Pro's True Tone display. If that necessitates use of the same display driver found in the iPhone 6s, then Retina Flash may come more-or-less for free on the new iPad Pro.
This doesn't mean you should use it, though.
It's true that the best camera is the one you have with you —so make sure you have something other than an iPad, or you could be the subject of the next concert fail photo.