Reuters Reports Next-Generation iPad to Offer Front and Rear Cameras

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While Apple has been widely expected to introduce a front-facing camera in the next-generation iPad to support FaceTime video chatting, the addition of a rear-facing camera has been less certain, with some observers skeptical of the functionality of such a feature on a device with a much larger form factor than pocket-sized smartphones.

Evidence for a rear-facing camera in the next-generation iPad has continued to grow, however, amidst supplier claims made in late October and claimed case leaks surfacing just yesterday.

Reuters now adds its voice to the mix, becoming the first mainstream news outlet to report that the updated iPad will include both front- and rear-facing cameras.

Component suppliers for Apple Inc's iPad are gearing up for a new round of production in the first quarter, sources said on Friday, with one saying the product will be a revamp of the popular tablet computer including front- and back-mounted cameras.

The report cites three sources, two of which would only confirm a fresh round of production set to begin early next year for components used in the current iPad, while the third source reported that the ramp-up is in fact for a new version of the iPad featuring two cameras. One of the sources has also indicated that the next-generation iPad will be slimmer and offer a higher-resolution display than the current model.

Update: Reuters has updated its article to report on another source claiming that Apple is developing a smaller version of the iPad.

A separate supply chain source said Apple was preparing a significantly smaller iPad that is almost half the size of the current model. The current iPad has a 9.7-inch screen.

While rumors of a smaller iPad had circulated earlier this year, Apple CEO Steve Jobs derided the 7-inch tablets competitors are bringing to the market, calling the devices too small and "dead on arrival". Jobs has been known to throw competitors off balance by denying interest in certain features (such as video on iPods) even while the company was working to bring them to market, but Jobs' comments about the smaller tablet form factor were particular vehement in their claims that a 7-inch display is simply too small to provide a worthwhile tablet experience.

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