UPDATED: Apple iPad Frame has Space for Missing Front-Facing Camera?

iPad has space for missing camera

According to Mission Repair, Apple's iPad has a space for an iSight webcam/camera inside the device. Based on parts seemingly obtained through unofficial channels, the frame appears to have a very similar area to the MacBook's existing iSight webcam enclosure.

If true, this is almost the exact same situation that occurred with the iPod touch G3, which was widely rumored to be getting a camera, ended up being introduced without one, and was torn-down after release to show the area where a camera was ready to go.

In that case, it was said Apple wasn't pleased with the quality of the cameras they'd received, and so pulled them at the last minute. Could they have received a second bum batch for the iPad? Could they have tested out the awkward camera angle enforced by holding an iPad flat on the lap and decided no one needed to see the undersides of their chine? Seriously, people, we're running out of ideas as to why there aren't any cameras on these devices. Let us know what you think!

UPDATED: Did the demo iPad shown off by Steve Jobs have that missing iSight camera? Florian sent us a link to screen shots

[Mission Repair via MacRumors]

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 53 comments. Add yours.

Roger says:

Well, yes, that's what I think too: how would that camera be positioned? The best thing would be a turtleneck kind of camera, which would be awkward...

isaac65 says:

I wouldn't mind holding the iPad the whole time I'm video chatting to get the right angle. Please surprise us by having it launch with an iSight camera! Please!!!

plugtwo says:

You may want to clarify what's in the photo. The MacRumors post includes a caption explaining that the top item is the supposed iPad frame, and below it, the camera and frame of a MacBook.
I'm thinking the iChat Mobile software was not ready for primetime so they decided to hold off on the hardware too. That way they can pull off a new revision of the iPad next year, "iPad Chat" and everyone will need to buy a while new iPad. I know I will! :-)

Mobile Virgin says:

I think that the iPad will be a huge hit and a big surprise to many. I woild not be surprised to see a version thay comes out with a camera on it.

OmariJames says:

All I have to say is January 2011 ... That's when they'll put a camera

Jellotime91 says:

90% of buyers will buy the keyboard dock, so I feel like the angle argument is irrelevant.

s.davis9 says:

I honestly feel that they are waiting 60 days because they would like to add a camera but may not have perfected It yet, but I'mnot getting it until a camera come wih it.

s2by10 says:

Give us the camera and let us decide!

Bob says:

you are not permitted to decide
only steve jobs may decide
he knows all

TumnusMr says:

We used to have some Nokia phones with video calling. Even when the network operator was doing a free video calling deal we rarely used it. Besides the fact that you kinda need a quiet room for it since it is like using a speakerphone, it was a pain hold it at the exact right angle all the time and even then the video was all over the place. Sure you could use the iPad dock or prop it up but then that sorta defeats the point of it being a mobile device and maybe Steve was not happy with the experience.
Of course, instead of just slapping a webcam in there, why not bump the pixel count and put a wide angle lens on it? Then they could use hardware accelerated code to 'flatten' out the image, perform face recognition and crop the image to around one or more faces looking in the general direction of the pad. Then they could also use the accelerometers to perform further image stabalisation and pinch & zoom to adjust the cropping. This would be really useful to video conference with several people.

Steve says:

Ipad is not much as mentioned do far but normal apple what would they do to better it later. I think it needs to become a iphonepad. Become a real video teleconferencing tablet phone. Needs USB needs camera needs SD slot. Needs to be the everything device. Remote gps phone videochat email video hub. It's a great start but like others. I'll wait for v2 or v3

Kris S says:

I think they should have cameras on all their mobile devices. A front facing camera for the iPad is definitely in the future, I hope they put one on the iPhone as well

Earless Puppy says:

In theory a clip on bluetooth camera or a USB camera would work, since you are really not going to be using this as a full fledge camera why would you need one built in? I don't see you taking your iPad on a hiking trip, do you?

LanceWebb says:

Next Gen iPad Checklist:

  1. HD Front Facing Camera (Skype HD)
  2. Full HD 16:9 OLED Screen
  3. Multitasking
  4. GPS
  5. Flash
  6. Active-X Solution
  7. Bluetooth
  8. HDMI
  9. USB
  10. Tether to iPhone for Internet
Earless Puppy says:

why do you need GPS in it, would not a GPS tether with a iPhone be a viable solution to help keep the cost down
Does this not have bluetooth or have they not mentioned the specs yet

Earless Puppy says:

1) clip on Bluetooth camera will suffice
2) would be nice
3) with iPone 4.0 on the horizon I wouldn't be surprised if it did multitask
4) no need for this, for me
5) personally could care less for flash
6) see item #5 and adjust
7) Actually it has Bluetooth
8) can you not convert component to HDMI ( with HDMI, DVI, component, I understand why they use component, not everyone has HDMI)
9) is not the apple port technically USB, and I believe bluetooth is the future
10) I think you will see this happen from AT&T

iSkythe says:

Um.. you guys DO know that the 3G version of the iPad comes with GPS and all iPads come with SD card slots, don't you?

Rob says:

If it tethers to iPhone smoothly then it could take advantage of GPS and either getting it's own maps via 3G or via the iPhone. Either way it wont overlap the iPhone function for a couple of iterations.
If it has the same radio chip set as the iPhone/iPod Touch then it will integrate WiFi, Bluetooth and FM RX/RX on the same chip. Very likely.
I think the front facing camera is hidden in the 3G back pocket for the product release in 3 months. Steve's on stage iPad has an 'impression' center-top implying a front facing camera beneath the glass which is consistent with Mac Book bezel. Stay tuned.

Rob says:

Evidence iSkythe? We'd love to see that.

killakow says:

@lance keep dreaming buddy. If they made an ipad like that it would cut many sales from the MacBooks and iMacs. Something apple would be foolish to do. They will be adding to the ipad one step at a time and it will take a few years to get what everyone wants but then we'd find a way to always want more. No one is ever satisfied with what they have now. EGO

P. says:

@lance not in this life time. And even they did include all of the those items someone else would say " but it dont do_______" then someone else would say "there's an app for. that " mY point if any is that all you fanboys ( no one in particular) are just dreaming of crap that's usless in the first place.
IMHO. Just like this ipad. Still waiting on a few things for my iPhone but now there on to the next item. So much for what's still lacking on my iPhone.
Not happy.
Peace P.

Reiko says:

Here's why they held back. The front facing camera technology is ready and available. There are a few different reasons why they would not launch it right away. The first is obvious, as some have already mentioned above - They need something to make it seem like they are upgrading v2. The more important is reason goes back to the iPhone. After last year's mediocre increase in the hardware for the iPhone, they need to make sure they make a huge bang with the 4th gen iPhone this June. THAT is where they will unveil the front facing camera. Then they will make it seem like since they have the tech then, they can now put it into the next iPad. If they unveiled the camera now, it would just seem expected for the iPhone and nothing overly special. I think its the right move for them. It sucks and is stupid it isn't available now because the iPad is perfect for it, but as a business decision, I think that is how it needs to be done. There aren't that many new ideas you can add to products year over year.

P. says:

Too funny they won't let me type C R A P!

neil brimelow says:

I'm a tad underwhelmed by the ipad except for the screen, it's gorgeous. It seems apple is starting a trend of releasing 1st gen products with features that everyone want, and that apple has already planned for the second generation (cough, cut and paste).

Arti says:

Going back to the original question . . .
. . . it doesn't have a web cam, something even the cheapest netbooks have, because Apple decided the product was good enough to go with and this "saves" a feature to announce next year to make you buy a new iPad generation 2. What a ROB.
Video chat over WiFi is the killer app for the iPad . . . without this the iPad really is just an oversize iTouch. APPLE PUT THE CAMERA IN THERE ALREADY. There is just no good excuse.

L says:

It would be like Apple to add a few surprises in the last minute! I hope they add more then just a camera to the final product!

Kurija says:

No one has mentioned price. Apple obviously wanted to keep the price at $499 rather than $512.49 or something. Perhaps at the last minute the figures just didn't add up and their research said that the few dollars profit lost by adding the camera wouldn't be made up for by extra sales.

Erick says:

Gotta love the idoesn't. iPhone 4.0 where are you?????

Tom says:

totally agreewith kurija

Jhunt4231 says:

How about an optional camera that plugs into the 30 pin connector?

NQ Logic says:

With the launch of the iPad tablet, Apple has managed to become the ultimate digital go-between company for high quality and high price content in a small yet very affluent segment of the population ... NQ Logic encourages you to check out why Apple's iPad is the final digital puzzle for their ultimate connected consumer strategy at www.nqlogic.com

Earless Puppy says:

its a good read, I don't agree with 100% of it, but I see your logic... I look at the iPad into a stepping stone towards a consumer shift in tablets which could only be done with a software base... Now having the app store, a tablet can be launched... Without the app store there would be no initial software designed for the device... You would have a great product with no worthy software to use on it..

Bent24 says:

How can you tether your iPhone to the ipad without a USB? 30 pin - 30 pin conector? Myfi or mywi app? Hard wire tether is what I'm really wanting with a custom iPhone clip keeping it stationary as I rotate at will all while keeping a good solid tethered connection. Any ideas?

Dennis says:

A few ideas:
1) Rather than deliberately holding back a webcam for v2, it would be more likely that Apple was simply trying to keep the price down.
2) Or, they ditched the webcam for performance issues -- either specific to the hardware or related to the design issues mentioned (i.e., the camera caused problems when the iPad was moved).
In general, I think video conferencing is a feature only a minority of people care about. We've been able to do video conferencing for relatively cheap on desktops for years, but I'd be surprised if more than 10 to 15% of people use it regularly. Of those who use it, webcam sex is probably 50% of the usage.
But I'd be curious if someone could test things out by using iChat on an iMac and pushing the iMac repeatedly with a finger, to see what effect it had on the stability of the transmitted video image.

danny92975 says:

Really what's the big deal on the camera? Why the need for it on a device that's going to sit on you lap filming your chin. It just does not make sense when we all have desktops and notebooks that will work best or am I missing something?

Disgruntled says:

We should all know by now that Apple doesn't release products according to anyone's standards but their own. We can expect this or that feature or piece of technology until we're blue in the face and it won't matter one bit to Apple. They take their time with how they design their products and it sure isn't to anyone else's expectations. This is the reason I believe the new iPhone won't even have half the features most people are expecting of it. Think I'm wrong? Look at what people were predicting what features the "iTablet" would have and now see what the "iPad" actually has!

Schrutefarms says:

I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't release a new iPhone this summer. Who said they have to release a new version each year? I know it's been the trend for the past few years. But why put a HD screen on the iPhone when you can buy an ipad. My guess is that they will put out iPhone 4.0 and expect you to be happy with that.

1LL0G1C4L says:

a site the iPad will not have the pleasure of receiving : http://www.theturn.tv/

SheiknetChris says:

Going back to Lance's chart: ActiveX solution??? Who would want that???

Joe McG says:

It's going to be hilarious when Steve Jobs shows off an ipad v2 in 2011 and debuts video conferencing and acts like Apple invented it. All the weak wristed hippies will cheer wildly and happily plunk down another $700 for it while tossing their first ipad aside. Then, in the coming days, all the fanboys will jump on all the tech blogs and talk about what a genious Jobs is, and how videoconferencing is a "game changer".
These games of releasing crippled devices is growing old. I'd take a picture of my sad face right now, but my iPod nano only takes video...

Dennis says:

My current theory is that Apple realized that they would need a wide angle camera lens or a camera with some vertical rotation to capture a face in the range of possible orientations, and that when the iPad is sitting in the user's lap, the camera shows the user's nostril hair.

jpoates says:

I believe the iPad will revolutionize a lot of things. I believe the mantra "touching the internet". Multitouch browsing is definitely a faster and more intuitive way to browse the web. That said, the iPad they showed last month was disappointing and appeared barely past the prototype phase. I'm not worried, as I know apple will bring the goods eventually. I just won't get one until the 2nd or 3rd generation. I wanted an iPhone from the beginning, but waited until the 3GS to get one and I am so glad I did. The 3GS hardware is definitely capable. Now if only OS 4.0 would come cuz I'm so tired of the spring board. Time for a major paradigm shift and give me more glanceable information! Seeing App Icons on 5 of my home screen is such a waste of real estate and pointless.......

Franko says:

The truth is - most people don't want to be stared at while talking on the phone. I've tried it for work, and it's an awful way to have a conversation. If your tablet has a front facing camera, which is also your keyboard - can you imagine the amount of vibration that would occur while typing? Not to mention the fact you have to hold a tablet in the air at eye level, so now you're walking around, holding a tablet at your face, not trying to bounce around too much to annoy the other person's video feed, and what happens when you try and type something? Video cameras on computers are fine when the computers were meant to be in use while stationary, not portable.
And I'm not only talking about the ipad, I'm talking about all tablets...including the iPhone.
Try holding your phone at eye level for longer than 3 minutes. Not so easy is it. And even if it is...you look like an idiot.

langley182 says:

I just watched the keynote... This isn't a camera.
It might be an ambient light sensor, like the one which you can see on the iPhone in bright light. There is no cutout in the black border, similar to the MacBook Pro's.

iSkythe says:

Ignore my earlier comment about USB port, the CAMERA adapter comes with one, and it's only for...well cameras. But it DOES have GPS, http://www.apple.com/ipad/specs/

Adam says:

The iPad has a docking station for video chat/conferencing.
What exactly do you need multi tasking for? Texting/chatting and internet radio is the only thing I can think of that I would need it. If you open that door you become prone to having too much running in the background. I think push is enough. Push with preview lets me see if it is an important enough message/update to quit my radio and go reply.

Hakala says:

I don think this is a camera. I scanned that scene of Jobs first taking out the ipad and saw what appears to be a camera but when he turns it from side-to-side, you can see it is merely a reflection from the crowd.

Simon says:

- it's A-GPS on the 3G which is nowhere near as good as real GPS
- No SD, or any other card slot on the iPad itself - only via an optional dock adapter.

Marksy says:

I didn't see the "Camera" appliction built on on the iPad on the keynote, but that does look like a camera! Must have a camera to make people realise that iPad is a great product

Jesse says:

I just look at the HD version of the IPAD presentation.. 00:09:09 you can see its reflection from the optic. Makes sense for them to put it there... when you docked with the keyboard, it i will line up with you face.
I wound how apple will play this out. I hope I don't have to wait until iPad 2nd Gen for the iSight Camera.

Alexandros Pandazis says:

I don't believe that it WILLL have a front facing camera because the ipad is not a good product. Craps to thee who believe so