Apple iPads Will Include A Camera

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Future versions of Apple’s iPad tablet will include a camera, according to evidence – but it looks like the first devices will be shipped with no camera

The Apple’s iPad could contain a built-in camera, according to clues dropped at the launch, and a repair shop company with access to iPad parts – but most people believe the camera won’t show up till later versions of the tablet PC.

Mission:Repair, a Kansas-based Apple product repair company recently received spare parts for the iPad, and posted a picture of a frame on its blog, which clearly has a space where a camera could be installed.

“We received our first shipment of iPad parts today,” Ryan Arter of Mission:Repair said. “Upon opening them up and getting our hands on some of these rare items, we immediately noticed what appears to be a ‘spot’ for a camera within the iPad frame.”

A camera from a MacBook apparently fits the space on the alleged iPad frame (see picture below, from Mission Repair): “The lens fits in the hole, the LED that indicates that the camera is on, fits, and the ambient light sensor hole is also correct. It appears that the plans to have camera in the iPad is a reality.”

Separately, Wired posted photos from Apple’s launch of the iPad in San Francisco, suggesting that a lighter-colored dot on the device’s frame could in fact be a Webcam. An iPad emulator for software developers also apparently has an option for “Take Photo”, Commenters to that article have suggested that the “dot” could be an ambient light sensor.

Official photos of the device on Apple’s site, however, reveal no such Webcam; nor do the technical specs indicate a built-in camera module or mechanical button to operate one. From the outset, Apple is planning on offering an ‘iPad Camera Connection Kit’ accessory that allows users to import photos and videos from a digital camera onto the device.

The buzz for Apple’s iPad steadily built in the months and weeks that led to its unveiling, and seems to have continued unabated despite many aspects of the device now being known: the iPad has a 9.7-inch LED backlit glossy multi-touch display with IPS technology, capable of displaying multimedia with 1024-by-768 resolution, and connectivity courtesy of either a Wi-Fi connection or combined Wi-Fi and 3G. Powering the device is a 1GHz Apple A4 proprietary processor (probably containing UK-designed ARM technology), combined with either 16GB, 32GB or 64GB flash drives. Apple has stated that the device will have a 10-hour battery life.

As announced, price points for the iPad will vary based on options. The 16GB version will cost $499 (£311) with Wi-Fi, and $629 (£392.50) with Wi-Fi and 3G. The 32GB version will cost $599 (£374) with Wi-Fi, and $729 (£455)with Wi-Fi and 3G. The 64GB version will cost $699 (£436) with Wi-Fi, and $829 (£517) with Wi-Fi and 3G.

The iPad has been backed as a business tool by analyst Forrester, although IT managers will be unwilling to support a consumer device whose security is as yet untested, and many will ignore it.

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By introducing an iBooks e-books storefront along with the iPad, Apple is seemingly gearing up for a broad-based assault on the e-reader market, currently dominated by Amazon’s Kindle line.

“Apple is taking on Amazon’s Kindle directly with the iPad, though iPad has weaknesses as a dedicated e-book reader and its entry level cellular-enabled model costs much more than Kindle’s $259 (£162),” IDC analyst Susan Kevorkian wrote in a research note. “IPS offers a better viewing angle than traditional LCD technologies, but is not any better than other LCDs outdoors, and its backlighting can induce discomfort from eyestrain, something that Kindle has hedged against with its E Ink display technology.”

Apple also introduced the iPhone SDK 2.3 beta along with the iPad, and is encouraging developers to craft tablet-centric applications. Roughly 140,000 apps will be available for the iPad through the App Store when the device is released in two months.

Much of the early criticism of the device has focused on its resemblance to an oversized iPhone or iPod Touch. If a succeeding generation of the iPad features a camera, those critics may find more grist for their original arguments.


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