A Camera in the Works for iPad?

By Nicholas Kolakowski  |  Posted 2010-02-09 Print this article Print

In a sign of iPad's increased competitive pressure on the media market ahead of its release, publishers have already started locking horns with Amazon over the prices of e-books on the Kindle store. On Jan. 31, Amazon temporarily ceased sale of all Macmillan's e-books on its online storefront, after the publisher announced a desire to raise the price of those digital texts from Amazon's traditional $9.99 to a range between $12.99 and $14.99. Other publishers followed suit, with Hachette announcing on Feb. 5 that it would request higher price points for its works.

"It's important to note we are not looking to the agency model as a way to make more money on e-books," David Young, chairman and CEO of Hachette Book Group, wrote in a memo posted on the media blog Mediabistro. "We're willing to accept lower return for e-book sales as we control the value of our product-books, and content in general. We're taking the long view on e-book pricing, and this new model helps protect the long term viability of the book marketplace."

The iPad's price and competitive profile could also chance as the device adds more hardware and software features. According to rumor, Apple may be planning to integrate a camera into the device; fueling this idea was a recent job notice posted on Apple's corporate site for a Performance QA Engineer for its iPad Media division.

"The Media Systems team is looking for a software quality engineer with a strong technical background to test still, video and audio capture and playback frameworks," read the job posting. "Build on your QA experience and knowledge of digital camera technology (still and video) to develop and maintain testing frameworks for both capture and playback pipelines."

That employee will ultimately "be responsible for the development and maintenance of methodical testing strategies and accompanying test documentation," as well as tracking bug reports and overall project progress.

The job posting follows rumors from earlier in February that the iPad could include a built-in camera. In a Feb. 1 posting on its official blog, Kansas-based Apple product repair company Mission:Repair mentioned that it had recently received spare parts for the iPad contained a space where a camera could potentially be inserted.

"We received our first shipment of iPad parts today," Ryan Arter of Mission:Repair noted in that posting. "Upon opening them up and getting our hands on some of these rare items, we immediately noticed what appears to be a 'spot' for a camera within the iPad frame."

The camera module from the unibody MacBook apparently fits into the frame received by Mission:Repair: "The lens fits in the hole, the LED that indicates that the camera is on fits, and the ambient light sensor hole is also correct. It appears that the plans to have camera in the iPad is a reality."

The combination of that blog and Apple's job posting gives more weight to the idea that a future version of the iPad will contain a camera, even though Apple's official iPad page makes no mention of such a feature. However, Apple also has a history of integrating new hardware into subsequent versions of its devices; the iPod Nano, for example, now includes a built-in camera module in its most recent iteration, and previous rumors have suggested that the iPod Touch could also receive one at some undefined future point.

Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel