Apple iPad tablet PC to sport a webcam

11 Jan 2010

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A senior executive at a leading global mobile operator has confirmed that the Apple iPad tablet computer due to be unveiled later this month will come with an integrated webcam.

Stéphane Richard, head of operations at France Telecom/Orange, told a French reporter about the tablet in a broadcast interview.

In an exchange, Richard confirmed that not only will Orange – one of the world’s largest mobile-network carriers be carrying the device – but that the long-awaited tablet computer dubbed the iPad will come with an integrated web cam.

26 January event

It emerged in recent weeks that Apple will unveil new technology at a special media event on 26 January in San Francisco, California. Reports suggest that the announcements will centre on the mobile space.

According to the report carried on Nowhereelse.com, Richard – in an off-guard moment – confirmed that not only will Apple be revealing the much called-for tablet device but that it would come with the web cam.

Recent reports also claim that Asian parts suppliers are ramping up the delivery of parts at such a rate that suggests the device could be shipping in the second quarter of this year.

In demand

Apple zealots have been calling for the Silicon Valley computing giant to bring out a tablet-style device that would have ramifications for the computing industry in the same way the iPhone had three years ago.

It is also particularly relevant insofar as the availability of mini notebooks or netbooks have provided a much-needed boost to the ailing PC industry. Clearly consumers want portable, light and affordable computing devices.

The question is: how will the iPad square up against existing netbook with webcams and Atom processors? Another question surely must come to mind around the tablet format. When the PC industry introduced the tablet computer form factor in 2002, it was supposed to change computing forever. It didn’t.

Nevertheless, in customary Apple fashion, if the company indeed launches a tablet computing device, it will come with enough bells and whistles to break the mould of the form factor.

A major bonus for the company, whose iTunes Apps Store now boasts in excess of 100,000 apps, would be if the device came with iPhone firmware to enable users to download and use apps on the device.

Could the tablet device cure the ills of the computing world or could it be a bitter pill to swallow for Windows-based notebook manufacturers?

By John Kennedy

Photo: Artist’s interpretation of the rumoured Apple iTablet

 

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com