iPad 2 with FaceTime video calling is coming ahead of schedule according to Apple Insider who cite "a person with proven knowledge of Apple's future product plans". They say Q1 of next year, but perhaps as soon as before the holiday season.
Q1 2011 wouldn't really be ahead of schedule, however, as that's pretty much when we expect them. (iPad was announced at the beginning of Q1 2010 and shipped just after the end of Q1, not a huge difference). Before the holidays of this year, however, would be a change.
If that's the plan, they'll have to announce it soon. Apple typically locks holiday lineups in early to get ahead of the sales cycle. With iOS 4.2 for iPad scheduled for November, it would seem to further tighten up the timeline. Then again, we've heard the same rumor about iPhones going on how many years now?
It's also believed that Apple may striving to embed FaceTime within its entire mobile arsenal before making good on a promissory to open up the standard to the rest of the world, thereby mitigating the market opportunity for rival tablet devices that could incorporate the technology.
As reader Dev keeps telling us:
FaceTime had been submitted to a standards body as an informational draft, but it is still 100% under Apple’s control, and, as Apple has never announced any plans to share control with that standards body, FaceTime is not open in the sense of, say, HTML, but more along the lines of the Flash runtime, in that others can implement, but not contribute. (I am not saying Flash is open, just that it is a mistake to refer to FaceTime as open when the protocol is solely under the control of one company.)
Pushing FaceTime throughout iOS would be great. Pushing it to Windows and Mac would be fantastic. Pushing it out as a completed open standard that anyone else, from Google to Palm to Microsoft to Nokia to BlackBerry and back are implementing would dent at least our small corner of the universe.
At least until multi-person FacesTime calls come next year...