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Apple’s (s aapl) pre-release software betas are often a veritable treasure trove of information about what’s in store for devices in future hardware updates. iOS 4.3 Beta 2 is no exception, bringing strong evidence (via MacRumors) that the iPad 2 will indeed have at least one camera, and likely two.
The evidence comes via an image asset included in the new beta called “homescreenOverlayFaceTime~ipad.png,” which clearly shows icons for FaceTime, Camera and Photo Booth on the default iPad home screen. The image mirrors the one currently used in the iPad’s wallpaper settings, and is likely meant to replace it in the iPad 2.
FaceTime should work as it does on the iPod touch with the new iPad, letting users make video calls to others with iOS devices with front-facing cameras, or to those with FaceTime for Mac installed on their computers. Photo Booth, which Apple has yet to release on any iOS device, will presumably work like the desktop app that ships with OS X and allow users to snap photos of themselves using a front-facing camera and then apply various effects to the resulting image. Filters like Mirror, X-Ray and Kaleidoscope have already been found in the iOS 4.3 beta.
The inclusion of a separate Camera app is what suggests Apple will go ahead and include two cameras instead of just one. It’s true that it could just be for use with the front camera, but I’d suggest that Apple would’ve stuck with just the Photo Booth app if it were only including a front-facing camera. And evidence aside, a lack of a rear-facing camera, no matter how practical, would be ammunition for Apple’s competition in the tablet space. Plus, Apple couldn’t sell the ability to switch between front and back cameras as a value-add feature for FaceTime.
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