Component supplier checks for Apple's next iPad have indicated that the next version of the tablet will include two cameras.
Sources cited by Reuters say that the second-generation iPad will have not just one, but two cameras. One will face the user (for video chats) and one will face outward. One of the earliest criticisms of Apple's iPad when it was first announced was its lack of a camera.
Reuters' sources named Genius Electronic Optical and Largan Precision as the two component suppliers making the iPad's cameras. The sources weren't able to confirm which supplier is providing the front camera and which is supplying the back camera, nor the quality of those cameras.
Adding cameras is a logical step for Apple to take for its next-gen iPad. FaceTime, Apple's video chatting technology, was introduced on the iPhone 4 in June, and later appeared on the iPod Touch in September. Given the shared operating system between the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, it's a feature that should have been present from the start.
Other companies supplying parts for the next-gen iPad include Wintek (touchscreen controllers), Simplo Technology (batteries), and AVY Preciscion (housing modules).
The next generation iPad is also reported to be slimmer and lighter than the first generation model, and will also have a better resolution display. The current iPad's display measures 9.7 inches and packs in 1024 x 768 pixels. It would not surprise me to see Apple gift the iPad with a larger version of the Retina Display, which is used by the iPhone 4 and latest generation iPod Touch.
As for timing, these suppliers expect to be shipping their wares in February, which puts the next iPad on track for a late March or early April debut. The original iPad was announced by Apple CEO Steve Jobs on January 27 of this year, and it hit store shelves on April 3. The timing of the new iPad seems right, given Apple's general behavior regarding product updates.
None of the companies involved have officially commented on the matter, and Apple has not confirmed Reuters' story.
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