Physical webcam covers not included on big spend for a new MacBook Pro or Dell XPS

Nice notch, now stand still while a post-it is placed on the camera

Image: Apple

As the second year of the COVID era draws to a close, and hopefully much of the pandemic world with it, there is one thing that will stay with us: the never-ending Zoom meetings.

With most businesses landing somewhere in the hybrid work arena, that means some people will be hosting meetings the old-fashioned way in a boardroom, but they will likely need to include clients or colleagues who are not in the same location.

Whether it’s Zoom, Teams, Webex, whatever Google’s option is called this month, or the next big thing, video conferencing will remain as a normal part of working life.

So it’s curious that Apple’s new MacBook Pro, which can cost up to $ 6,000, overlooked users’ physical ability to ensure they can’t be accessed.

For a business that shrouds itself in privacy and ease of use statements, this seems like a glaring omission.

Not to be outdone, if you want to spend a lot of money on a new non-Apple product but still want the experience of not having a webcam cover, then the new Dell XPS line is for you.

Review: Dell XPS 15 9510: It’s good to be king

Dell told ZDNet that it was more interested in using space in senior management for better camera quality.

“The physical flaps required adding a Z thickness to the upward hinge as well as a Y dimension – which in turn adds weight and compromises our optimization in terms of the X * Y footprint,” the company said. .

“We are focused on providing the most size optimized designs in the industry for maximum portability. Instead of a physical shutter, we are implementing a camera “shutdown switch” on the Fn keys to facilitate the electrical on / off of the camera with an LED indicator on status. “

As I wrote about the XPS 15 9510, in the age of endless video conferencing, not having the physical reassurance that no one can see you is stressful. The end result is that no matter how pretty these laptops are, it’s likely that there’s a $ 5 third-party sticker webcam cover attached to them, a piece of duct tape, or a sticky note.

To spend all that money on a machine, have an ultra-thin bezel, a wonderful screen, but then have a garish attachment stuck to the front because the laptop maker was obsessed with the thinness of the screen, it looks like a slap in the face.

It is not so much that the so advertised hackers can capture images of your machine, it is 100% guarantee that even if it is hacked, no one can see you.

Last week, a member of the Australian local government was caught red-handed for carrying out his job with no clothes on.

A physical webcam cover could have saved her blushes.

Apple has also warned that camera covers could damage laptop screens.

“If you close your Mac laptop with a camera cover installed, you risk damaging your screen because the gap between the screen and the keyboard is designed to very tight tolerances,” says the tech giant.

“Covering the built-in camera can also interfere with the ambient light sensor and prevent features such as Auto Brightness and True Tone from working. ”

If you must have a cover, Apple says it should be thicker than a piece of paper, leave no adhesive residue behind, or if it’s more than a millimeter thick, it should be removable.

It seems like the perfect job for a $ 19 polishing cloth.


The Monday Morning Opener is our opening salvo for the tech week. Because we operate a global site, this editorial is posted on Mondays at 8:00 a.m. AEST in Sydney, Australia, which is 6:00 p.m. EST on Sundays in the United States. It is written by a member of the ZDNet Global Editorial Board, which is made up of our editors in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America.


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