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Apple's next-gen iPad rumored to have two cameras - report

Apple's next-generation iPad, set to launch in the first quarter of 2011, will include a forward-facing camera for FaceTime video chat, in addition to a second rear camera, according to an unconfirmed rumor from an investment firm.

The note from Detwiler Fenton & Co., issued this week and obtained by Barron's, claims that OmniVision will supply CMOS image sensors for the second-generation iPad. The report alleges that the next iPad will have a forward-facing VGA camera for FaceTime video chat, like the iPhone 4 and latest iPod touch.

The firm also claims that OmniVision will supply a second, 5 megapixel camera, presumably to be placed on the rear of the new iPad. One competing touchscreen tablet, Samsung's Galaxy Tab, sports two cameras, with the rear lens highlighted for use in augmented reality applications.

Detwiler said that Apple is expected to build 2.5 million units of the next-generation iPad in the first quarter of 2011. OmniVision also supplies sensors for Apple's iPhone.

AppleInsider contacted Detwiler Friday in an effort to determine why Apple would place a high-resolution camera on the back of a 9.7-inch tablet, and why Apple would only build 2.5 million units of a device that sold more than 4 million last quarter. Multiple e-mails and voicemails were not returned.

In September, AppleInsider exclusively reported that Apple plans to move aggressively in pushing its FaceTime open video chat standard. In addition to the iPhone 4 and latest iPod touch, Apple added the Mac platform to its FaceTime connectivity earlier this month.

People familiar with Apple's plans told AppleInsider that a version of Apple's iPad with a built-in video camera and FaceTime support had already progressed to advanced testing stages by September. It was indicated that a FaceTime-equipped iPad would be introduced no later than the first quarter of 2011.