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Thursday, December 09, 2010, 10:00 pm PT (01:00 am ET)

Apple's iPad 2 to have front, rear cameras in early 2011 - rumor

Component suppliers for Apple's iPad are planning to begin a new round of iPad production in the first quarter of 2011, with one source saying that the next-generation iPad will have front- and back-mounted cameras, a new report claims.

Reuters reported Friday that sources claim the next-gen iPad will sport dual cameras, and could begin production as early as the first quarter of 2011.

The report further confirms the likelihood of a FaceTime-capable iPad, as reported by AppleInsider in September. Additionally, on Thursday, new iPad cases were spotted with cutouts for a rear-facing camera and space for what could be an SD card slot.

Reuters' sources pegged touchscreen chip designer Wintek Corp, battery maker Simplo Technology and AVY Precision, "an unlisted maker of covers for electronic products," as suppliers for the next batch of iPads.

Camera component suppliers Genius Electronic Optical Co and Largan Precision Co were also reportedly starting new "supply deals" with Apple, though sources were unable to confirm for which products.

The report lined up with what RBS analyst Steven Tseng has been hearing. "It makes sense for these suppliers to begin delivering their goods in February," he said. "I think Steve Jobs will announce the new product in January, and we should see the new product hitting shops in about April."

Other reports from sources close to Apple's Asian-based component suppliers have also predicted a Q1 2011 production date for the next-gen iPad. Earlier this week, Taiwan industry publication DigiTimes reported that Foxconn will begin shipping the iPad 2 within the next 100 days. The publication also released a similar report naming potential suppliers for the next iPad in November.