updated 11:00 am EST, Tue February 2, 2010
Groundwork or atavism?
The frame of the first-generation iPad is meant to hold a camera, even though no camera is present, a repair company observes. Mission: Repair says it has already received an initial shipment of spare iPad parts, ahead of the device's March release date. In examining the frame, technicians have noticed an unexpected slot which perfectly fits the camera module from a unibody MacBook, including components like the ambient light sensor.
The find could have broad implications. Apple may for instance have wanted to put a camera in the iPad but pulled it out at the last minute, whether out of cost concerns or because of technical difficulties. The idea would support pre-announcement rumors that the tablet was going to have at least one camera, and explain references to camera options in the iPad SDK. Apple may alternately be laying the groundwork for a second-generation iPad, which will probably ship a year after the first.
The situation echoes that of the third-generation iPod touch, for which pre-release evidence strongly indicated camera plans. The hardware is thought to have been pulled just before going into production, a result of component flaws. The only iPod to have a camera at present is the smaller, cheaper iPod nano.