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Rumor Has It: The iPad Camera

If you are already struggling with the decision of whether or not to go ahead and buy a first generation iPad model, then a new rumor that has sprung up regarding the device might help you make up your mind. The rumor has me leaning strongly towards a “Do Not Buy” state of mind, for the very same reason that I didn’t pick up the last revision of the iPod touch.

That reason being, it seems Apple (s aapl) may be holding back some important features to make the next iteration of the device seem more attractive. And now there’s some evidence to back up that assumption, so I’m not just acting out of early adopter paranoia.

iPad Camera

The lack of a camera was one of the biggest complaints many iPad naysayers had following the reveal of Apple’s exciting new creation. That’s what makes it so painful that Mission Repair, a licensed Apple repair partner, noted when it received a shipment of parts for the upcoming device that the iPad’s frames contain a space seemingly intended to house a camera. Putting a MacBook camera in that space, in fact, resulted in a perfect fit. Photos of the frame with and without the MacBook’s iSight camera inserted are available over at the Mission Repair blog right now, so you can see for yourself how perfectly they work together.

Add to that the fact that 9 to 5 Mac reported earlier in the week that the demo tablet Steve Jobs was using on stage during the announcement last week appeared to have camera holes according to pictures taken by some of those with higher quality cameras sitting closest to the stage. The photos definitely reveal something resembling a camera lens at the top of the iPad bezel.

Innovation vs. Staged Release

Either I’m becoming more savvy, Apple is becoming more transparent, or this business of withholding specific bits and pieces from products in order to increase the consumer appeal of subsequent iterations is the new standard for Cupertino. I suspect the last is true, and it’s spoiling my ordinarily ravenous appetite for conspicuous consumption of Apple products. I remember how right it seemed to buy the iPod touch when it first came out, and I felt at the time I didn’t need a smartphone (I didn’t, and I still probably don’t). It seemed like the natural evolution of the iPod, with nothing left out.

The iPad is more like a movie prequel. With prequels, the destination or endpoint of the film is generally accepted and known by the audience, but we go and see them to see how that thing came to be. The first-generation iPad is a good story about the device it will eventually become, but it doesn’t feel like something terribly worthwhile in and of itself.

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52 Responses to “Rumor Has It: The iPad Camera”

  1. I pressed the power button on the top right and the menu (middle bottom of my iPad) and my iPad made a camera sound and it took a picture of my desk picture. Try it and you will see. Hit the two buttons at the same time and watch

  2. The next question is how many owners of first generation, cameraless iPads will trade up to ones that have cameras? Will that create a secondary market of used iPads and how will that influence the iPad app market?

  3. This article is on the right path. I’ve got a friend in San Diego who works for an Apple store and he recently made a trip to the Apple home base in Cupertino for an annual conference. I had a feeling that maybe in the future they would come out with one because knowing Apple over the past years, its been that kinda pattern. I wanted to know so I could make a decision so I asked my friend. And just as I thought, he said “yes.” And that is why am I waiting for atleast the end of this year to the beginning of next year.

    I think its obvious though. First, they just came out with the iphone 4 WITH two cameras…its obvious they have the means to produce something similar..on the iPad!!! But anyways, I am waiting and it will be worth it. I would deeply regret getting one now knowing what its missing only to have a new version come out later. I’ve already done so many times with Apple, I don’t want to do it again…with this.

  4. I’m still wishing they will release the new version with camera. It’s pretty lame that a cool device doesn’t have a camera even tho there are still cam accessories available outside.


  5. secretaa. :)

    some people say that they should just go ahead and buy the new one but, i think that you should save for the next one rumor has it that it will have much more than just a camera :)
    sooo people just waiit :)
    u wiillll be surprised :)

  6. Benjamin danbury

    I’d just like to say that I have an iPad and the little dot on the front is a light sensor so it can change the brightness of the screen according to the brightness of the room so stop saying that the dot is a camera

  7. MizuInu

    Since I first touched Apple over a year ago, I have grown more relaxed in using computers, the systems work so nicely.
    I am all for a camera in the iPad.
    My 70 year old grandmother has no internet, but she is damn good at sms.
    I was considering buying her an iPad to introduce her, as my first family member, to Apple products.
    Since I use ichat with friends and my mother over AOL, it would be nice to also use it with my grandmother, and since neither her nor my mother will ever buy an iPhone, then the iPad is the choice.
    Personally I use both Macbook as my stationary and iPhone as my mobile, but once I can afford it the iPad will make its way into my home, once it has a camera.
    Globalization or as I call it Global-distanzation will evolve the use of video calls. Just let it take its time, instead of pushing the human nature to fast into unknown territories.
    I am all for the iPad, but as many say, wait for the second gen.
    I have the time, so I will wait.

  8. Apple being Apple, I bet the problem isn’t the withholding of features so much as the imperfect implementation. The problem with the camera is the positioning on the device; it naturally fits at the top of the device (opposite the button). But, the average user would be most likely to want to use the camera when the device is oriented horizontally, not vertically. Meanwhile, if you try to place the camera on one of the long sides, you force a given orientation on the user and have problems with fingerprints and smudges covering the aperture for the lens.

    • rose Anthony

      Oh come on, there may be complaints about the camera positioning but not so many as total exclusion has prompted. Give us a camera AND more importantly a phone, so we can stick that big old ipad in our handbag and use our jawbones and toss out our smartphones and kindles (or give them to our children or hubbies).

      • Rose I so agree with you. I am sick of the iphone, I was hoping to get the ipad to replace a browsing small computer on the move, one that could take photos and be able to make phone calls. I have a 27 inch imac at home. But I want a portable device that I can take notes with when in meetings with clients, browse the net on the go, make calls, use skype video chat. Take a photo of location or people when I am on the move. All in one device! So I will wait for version 2.


    The most innovative company in America did not think a camera was important? Please! Apple is abusing the loyalty of its clients. Soon enough, people are going to start to get angry. The have developed a pattern of rolling out products and I’m getting tired of falling for it. I understand innovation, but holding back multitasking, a camera and the ability to see movies in HD format are basic features on almost ANY device. I love the product, but greed is taking over. Whenl version 2 comes out I predict backlash they didn’t expect. After the backlash, how much do you want to bet you will be able to have your version one fitted with a camera (for a fee)? OS 4 will be then be made available AFTER iPad version 2 comes out so you can buy it separately. The pattern is clear and I don’t like it.

  10. Has anyone taken into consideration budgets either? Why put more money into a device that’s uncertain whether it will make a profit.

    There are many tablets already out with a lot of functionality. They invested in the UI of software, graphics with a smaller card, and extremely responsive interactions. And with all that it makes for a beautiful experience without a camera.

    As a business professional you want to see it pay off and start a new cult, before you invest another 100,000 into the device. Many failed devices have taken a corporation with it.

    In my opinion, if you won’t purchase the iPad without a camera you don’t need it, because you missed the entire point. The pad is incredible for all sorts of careers to get more done, in a fluid way and with less gadgets and you can do so many things.

    Believe it or not, personal use does not bring as much profit as people would believe.

    My thoughts.

  11. I am not a huge fan of Apple, but the developers of Apple are no pushovers. They’ve been in business for quite some time and have divisions devoted to finding ways to out market their competitors. It is with absolute certainty that they could expect a negative response to the lack of a camera. Flash is something on the internet that will completely die out in the next 3 years or so.. because of this it is of little concern to me. It’s important in these times to buy products that have long life expectancies. Apple and Microsoft both are aware of this. Logically the iPad has to have a camera – that is to say unless the Apple staff is lacking in the intellectual variety. (which I’m sure many Mac fans would take great offense to…so it’s agreed)

  12. Yeah, I think I’m staying away from this first gen iPad. You always have the feeling their holding something back for next iteration but it’s never been this grotesely obvious. Everyone wants a camera and with the competitor pads already out with the feature and the reported 250 dollar margin on this thing it seems particularly obnoxious this time. Add to that the fact that the thing seems ready to slip the 5 dollar part in and you can count me out until the next round.

  13. Maybe no camera was on purpose. Think about people using the iPAD instead of a newspaper and take it also to work. There are numerous workplaces where cameras are strictly forbidden and workers have to destroy the cameras even in the cellphones. So the iPAD could be used there too. And maybe there will an aftermarket accessory like a case, connected to the iPAD connector, that includes a camera, stand and a larger battery. And there’s another thing…
    What if the iPAD had a camera? I guess AT&T would not be able to handle the traffic if only 50% used video calling at all.

  14. No purchase of this amazing product without a camera. Will hold off, as I suspect many others will, for a more fully featured product in rev.2. I can live with my MBP until tablet has the camera. Camera is now a BASIC feature in Cellphones, Netbooks etc. and should have been included in the intro model. Not sure I totally agree with earlier poster who said not many using video iChat. Most people I know take advantage of this inexpensive form of communications.

    • This is true. Even the cheapest cell phones include a camera nowadays. If I’m going to pay this much money for this device, I don’t want to have to lug my camera along with me while I’m on the road. I thought the point was to offer all these things in one device (ebooks, music, photos, email, etc).

  15. I did notice that Steve Jobs did not hold the ipad very long in his hand. he just showed it briefly and then put it back on the couch. I’m guessing that Apple could come out with a surprise when they come with the real product at March. It’s like when you are at the car rental place. you reserve a compact but for the same price they give a better car just for customer satisfaction shmatzy.

    • I agree with you Ahmet. It’s all about the “wow” factor. I must admit that I really love when I go to the car rental place and get an unexpected upgrade! I really hope Apple does the same thing with the iPad.

  16. Costs, no excuse, its buttons in the grand scheme of things. Apparently the 3G chip costs $7 and they price you pay is much more. All things considered there are other costs but my point being that the hardware is cheap. I do think apple screwed up not putting a web cam in and many, many people will wait. It was the perfect device for it, way more convenient than a PC whoops Mac I mean. I suppose one thing it will guarantee sales of the next generation assuming Microsoft don’t get in first. It is really annoying to think that in 12 months I would potentially have to fork out or wait for the solution with an webcam. Apple should just stick it in there and surprise everyone when they pull it out of the box for the first time – Surprise!!!

  17. I think the lack of a camera may have more to do with keeping the costs down in relation to the price. Remember, Apple wanted to put this device in the hands of many. They had to bring it to market at an attractive price, so something had to give. I have no problem with the iPad not having one, it is the least used feature on any of my Macs. And who wants a cam that shoots up your nostrils video? Besides, if you truly want one, I am sure there will be 3 party options that sit on top of the device. And I am sure you will be able to move the cam to an attractive desired position (something a fixed cam could not do).

  18. The other possibility, of course, is that the March announcement of availability will include a surprise camera, much like that last-minute iPhone announcement of a glass screen and the YouTube app.

    Not a given by any means, but certainly a possibility.

  19. Logan_Kale

    My point wasn’t that any company tells the consumer that they cant have something and then they give it to them. The point was that in the iPad’s case that Apple didn’t release any information before release. The disappointment was only a factor upon release because of the hype that came from the community about the iPad and its possible features and capabilities. Common sense would say, why speculate on something that we didn’t know anything about? What would be the point besides setting themselves up for disappointment. Really, when the release happened, no one should have had any expectations about the iPad before knowing exactly what they releasing even on the first run and foresee things like the camera for example as an added feature to future runs. I will agree though that the iPad should have been seen on the demo with Flash capabilities. That hurt the release more than anything else.

  20. Get over the camera… hardly anyone video chats anyway. Its like kids, tell them they can’t have something and suddenly they want it. 99% won’t use the video camera for calls – if everyone wanted to use it, it would be widespread on phones. Can’t believe the hype over such an unused feature. This is a crazy decision to say don’t buy the product – the 2nd generation will probably be another year away. Why don’t you wait till version 10? wait 10 years and I’m sure that one will be even better.

    • l8trg8tr

      No, the camera is not “key.” It’s an unused feature! If the grandparents want to see their grandparents, the grandkids can get off the ipad/couch and hobble over to the nearest computer and log on there!

    • anniefromtheblog

      I am on the move frequently, my family all live abroad. I am from the ex-pat community which is huge and covers the globe. There are plenty of people who will benefit from the camera; people who don’t want to buy the device twice. I’ll wait it out.

    • Well, Panny many people do use video chatting have you ever heard of a Macbook by Apple with an iSight camera. For photo booth or ichat did you ever think about that and many MODERN phones do have camera so don’t say that nobody uses that feature. Oh wait Panny look at the keynote picture and you”ll see the camera.

    • Rose Anthony

      Grandparents who like to streamline would like to toss their MACs and focus on one “fun” device, using their office PCs for their real work, thank you. If apple devices don’t have the bells and whistles, what is the point?

  21. Guys,

    When has Apple (or any other company, for that matter) NOT done this? The first generation of any new device (iPod, iPhone, etc) is always a compromise. New product development is hard and you have to make your first release as simple as you can without making it too simple – a fine line to walk.

    The first iPhone had no GPS, remember? The first iPods didn’t play video and didn’t even have color screens. The first cellphones weighed pounds, not ounces.

    A much better guess here would be that the software support for a camera (controlling the camera itself, new applications for chat, etc) wasn’t ready yet, so the camera stayed out. When you think about it, a camera isn’t nearly as important for an iPad as it would be for a device you carry around on your person all the time. The iPad will be used a lot more around the office or the house, not carried around with you everywhere.

    I think we’ll also see the iPad eventually get an IR port so that it can be a universal remote, but it’s easy to see that Apple might put that off for later.

    Everything gets better with time.

  22. That is exactly the reason why I won’t by the first iPad. I strongly believe that Apple is withholding features on purpose — features that have nothing to do with “the technology not being available yet.” iPad v2 will have a camera and more memory, but will lack certain features that will be available in v3. Understandable, but it pisses me off. I bought a iPhone 3G and only a few months later the 3GS arrived. Problem is, people let Apple get away with it… me included.

  23. Logan_Kale

    Personally, I think the mass populous placed expectations that were too high on the device, especially considering the details that Apple didn’t feed the media prior to the release. No information, should equal no expectation. But thats just me.

  24. Logan_Kale

    Watch out,
    Tomorrow will be “Flash capability rumored for the iPad” day. I kinda figured this would happen with the different things the first model had. was a demo model. I was confused why everyone was so furious. Nothing is “perfect” upon its first release.