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Apple is nuking the most innovative iPad app in years

Chris Smith

A few weeks ago, I discovered an interesting post from the makers of the Astropad app that showcased an out of the box way to turn an iPad component into a physical button. I soon learned the invention is only part of the story. The same developers have found a way to transform the iPad into a touchscreen MacBook Pro and turned the front-facing camera of the tablet into a button.

Now, I just learned that Apple will ruin that particular feature, as Apple killed the Camera Button idea.


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A memory stick-like device connects to a MacBook to beam the screen to the iPad. That’s what Luna Display is all about. Because the iPad’s home button is already assigned to features that developers don’t get any access to, the developers concocted this Camera Button that can be used both with the Astropad app and the Luna Display dongle.

However, Apple will have none of that. And, sadly, we should have seen this coming, as the Camera Button breaks one particular rule:

Apps that alter or disable the functions of standard switches, such as the Volume Up/Down and Ring/Silent switches, or other native user interface elements or behaviors will be rejected.

Astro announced that the Camera Button is dead effective immediately.

“The Camera Button might be dead, but our urge to innovate lives on,” the company said. “We’re committed to pushing the boundaries of software and hardware engineering so that we can create the best productivity tools possible. Stay tuned for more from Astro HQ.”

Thankfully, the Camera Button will not kill the Luna Display project. You’ll still be able to get a macOS experience on the iPad once the product ships. But the developers will have to figure other software tricks to replace the Camera Button feature.

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See the original version of this article on BGR.com