updated 05:45 pm EDT, Fri September 10, 2010
Apple may have camera-ready iPad early
Apple may be stepping up the release of a camera-equipped iPad to get it out ahead of time, sources claimed on Friday. Although it only just launched in April and supplies have just caught up to demand, AppleInsider understood from a "proven" contact that the tablet was in late testing. If finished on time, it could be ready as soon as the holidays but would arrive no later than the first quarter of 2011, which ends in March.
Why Apple would update early aren't known, but it's speculated that FaceTime itself may play a role. It would give the company a way of spreading FaceTime across all its iOS devices before acting on its promise to open FaceTime as a standard, giving it both a unified platform and a head start over others. A holiday launch would likely be meant to head off the first wave of iPad competitors shipping with a front camera, primarily the Samsung Galaxy Tab but also the Toshiba Folio 100. These are so far depending on third-party apps like Fring that are usually more complex. Pre-release support for FaceTime outside of Apple's built-in apps is small but includes the live streaming service Qik.
What else would arrive in a new iPad isn't as evident. A dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor is possible for early next year, and Apple often upgrades capacities whenever possible, but few other details are available. Many have called for Apple to produce a Retina Display-like screen, but the 2048x1536 resolution needed for that density is potentially too expensive. 512MB of RAM is a strong possibility since the iPhone 4 already ships with as much memory.