Even when it debuted at the time, the iPad was conspicuous for its lack of forward-facing camera. Apple had obviously considered it: the iPad’s frame actually contains a hollow in which a standard iSight camera fits perfectly. Why didn’t they pull the trigger? Hindsight being 20/20, it’s pretty obvious now that Apple did not choose to install a camera in the first iPad because they hadn’t yet readied their FaceTime video chat standard: it would be stupid to supply hardware in the iPad that only Apple’s competitors were ready, at the time, to capitalize upon.
Now that FaceTime is out for the iPhone, iPod Touch and Mac, the iPad is obviously the next in line. Now a new report suggests that existing iPhone camera supplier Omnivision will also be tasked with creating the iPad’s camera.
The speculation comes by way of investment firm Detweiler Fenton, who say the next-gen iPad will boast two cameras: a 5MP main camera and a VGA camera. The firm goes on to say that they believe Apple will build 2.5 million second gen iPads in Q1 2011 before an April debut, and that these iPads will also feature a beefed up CPU of Apple’s own design.
I’m not entirely convinced by Detweiler Fenton’s insistence on a backwards-facing cam in the second-gen iPad: Apple could have easily installed that in the first version, and didn’t, so clearly they feel the iPad’s form factor doesn’t make it a good device for taking snapshots of the outside world. The rest seem like pretty obvious guesses. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if iPad somehow pushed the envelope just a little bit more than the obvious for the iPad 2.