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Next-gen iPad with front-facing camera allegedly spotted at 'The Daily' launch

A new report claims that a prototype version of Apple's second-generation iPad with a front-facing camera was present at News Corp's press conference to launch The Daily digital newspaper on Wednesday.

Reuters reports that an eyewitness spotted "what appeared to be a working model of the next iPad with a front-facing camera at the top edge of the glass screen" at Wednesday's media event for the experimental iPad publication. Apple announced a new in-app subscription feature at the event.

"A source with knowledge of the device confirmed its existence, adding that the final release model could have other features," the report noted, adding that News Corp and Apple declined to comment.

Though Apple's iTunes chief Eddy Cue and, presumably, other Apple staff were on hand at The Daily's debut, that they would bring recognizable prototypes of an unannounced product is uncharacteristic of the highly secretive company.

In the past, Apple has gone to great lengths to disguise unreleased products that are undergoing testing out in the real world. For instance, a prototype model of the iPhone 4 was discovered last year wrapped in a plastic case housing that made it look like an iPhone 3GS.

Apple's Eddy Cue, left, with News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch jointly unveil The Daily Wednesday.

However, if accurate, the report tracks with growing evidence that Apple will add cameras to the next version of its successful tablet. On Wednesday, AppleInsider discovered a new job listing from Apple seeking a digital photography expert to help "deliver great photography applications for the Mac and iPad platforms." Cameras on the iPad are expected as part of a push by Apple to promote its FaceTime video conference standard.

Rumors regarding Apple's plans for its next-generation iPad have increased as of late— a possible indication that the device's release is nearing. Recent reports suggest that overseas suppliers will begin production in February in preparation for an April launch.

One analyst reported earlier this week that Apple is focusing on reducing thickness and improving anti-reflection in the display for the iPad 2, but will keep the resolution the same. AppleInsider reported in January that Apple's next iPad could sport the upgraded SGX543 dual-core graphics processor from Imagination Technologies.