Reports surrounding a dual camera placement on the iPad 2 now have reached a fever pitch. What's clear is that Apple must significantly upgrade the iPad hardware to retain its leading position in the tablet market. Evidence is mounting that front and rear-facing cameras will be integrated into the next-generation device.
Several designs for iPad 2 cases have been spotted on Chinese websites. Whether these reflect the final design of iPad 2 remains to be seen, however they include a camera hole in the back of the case. There's also an unexplained gap in the lower right of the case, which some have speculated will accommodate a larger speaker or even an SD card.
Code deep within iOS 4 has already been discovered that makes it possible for devices like the iPad 2 to make FaceTime video calls without a phone number. Should Apple activate this feature in the next-generation iPad, the tablet will require a front facing camera for live video chat. It has been noted that the current iPad design has a slot that perfectly fits current iSight cameras, but for some reason Apple shipped the iPad with this place in the frame empty.
Apple does plan to have some kind of restrictions surrounding an iPad camera, with management profile policies explaining the option to limit use of the camera for business users. Parental restrictions on camera use included in iOS 4 could easily be used on the iPad.
Reuters contacted four Apple parts suppliers and found out that aside from ramping up production, Genius Electronic Optical Co Ltd started a new component supply agreement with Apple. This company currently supplies cameras for the iPhone 4 and is likely to supply future iPad 2 cameras soon. Apple will probably design the iPad 2 rear-facing camera specifically to take advantage of the larger, higher-resolution iPad screen.
Tablet competitors such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab already feature front and rear-facing cameras. Next year the Motorola Honeycomb tablet and BlackBerry Playbook will hit the market, and both devices will feature dual cameras. When Apple ships the iPad 2 in spring 2011, expect two cameras to come standard.