Apple to move aggressively on FaceTime, camera-equipped iPads

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Apple's iPad is unlikely to endure the company's traditional 12-month product cycle for iOS device refreshes before seeing its first major enhancements, AppleInsider has been told.



A version of the tablet device with a built-in video camera and support for the new FaceTime video conferencing standard has already progressed to the advanced testing stages, according to a person with proven knowledge of Apple's future product plans.



Though the inaugural fleet of iPads has seen surprising momentum that's kept them out of a supply-and-demand balance since April, their FaceTime-equipped successors are said to be tracking for an introduction no later than the first quarter of next year.



And although Apple's historical product cycles would beg to differ, that person familiar with the company's plans claims that as of last month, there was an ambitious push inside Apple to verify the refresh for a possible launch ahead of this year's holiday shopping season.



Such a move would coincide with Apple's well-known strategy of building more value into its flagship products while maintaining price points and margins, rather than slashing prices in a bid for higher unit volumes.



Management has continually reiterated that Apple is a company focused on value, satisfaction, and quality -- not quantity. "We have never been about being the biggest, we?ve always been about making the best products," chief operating officer Tim Cook has said. "Not having highest market share or most revenue."



It's also believed that Apple may striving to embed FaceTime within its entire mobile arsenal before making good on a promissory to open up the standard to the rest of the world, thereby mitigating the market opportunity for rival tablet devices that could incorporate the technology.



Apple's top-down approach to making FaceTime an industry standard, while early, has already shown signs of taking root.



Given strong sales of the iPhone 4, along with the introduction of the latest iPod touch, Apple will make true on its word to have tens of millions of FaceTime equipped devices in consumers' hands this year. That broad adoption has caused chat services like Qik to take notice.



Qik indicated this week that it is planning to integrate FaceTime compatibility into its software as soon as Apple makes its free application programming interfaces available. Qik comes preloaded on a number of popular devices, including the EVO 4G and Epic 4G, and is expected to come standard on 75 million devices by the end of 2011.



The sentiment is a change from June, when FaceTime was first announced and no devices had yet shipped. At the time, numerous chat services were initially reluctant to commit to FaceTime.



Peter Farago, vice president of marketing with analytics firm Flurry, told AppleInsider he feels the iPad is an interesting product for Apple, because it has seen immediate success with both consumers and developers, despite the fact that he doesn't believe a "killer app" yet exists for the device.



"At the end of the day there isn't really one thing for the consumer to grab onto," he said.



However, he added that the anticipated integration of FaceTime in the iPad, which would add video chat compatibility with an even larger number of iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch devices, could prove to a must-have feature that pushes sales of Apple's touchscreen tablet even further.



Apple has made FaceTime the main selling point of the iPhone 4, launched in June. Rather than touting the technical specifications of the device, including its A4 processor and Retina Display, a series of TV commercials instead focused on the intimacy and ease of use of the video chat functionality built in to the company's latest smartphone.



Flurry, which tracks what platforms developers are working on, has found the number of new projects being developed for the iPad has nearly doubled since the April launch. While developer interest was already strong in the April-May timeframe when the hardware debuted, it increased 95 percent in June and July.







The numbers, to Farago, are evidence that Apple's approach to the iOS platform has clicked with developers, who are clearly willing to embrace the iPad. This rapid adoption has occurred despite the fact that it has an install base that is dwarfed by the iPhone and iPod touch, both of which have been found success since 2007.



Farago said he, like many others before the iPad was announced, expected the first-generation device would include a camera for video chat. Now, he said, as Apple continues to convince customers that they need to carry one more device with them, an addition like FaceTime could be "the key to unlocking the potential" of the iPad.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 111
    Apple should never rest on their laurels. If the market demands an iPad with built in camera or phone functionality, they should do their level best to deliver such a product.
  • Reply 2 of 111
    I don't necessarily think it'll be updated before the cycle period because it's still such a hot item and the holidays are coming up so now that they've caught up on the production of them you'd think a new model would make it impossible for anyone to get...i do see them announcing one in January tho.
  • Reply 3 of 111
    Hah! My prediction is vindicated!



    Well, almost.
  • Reply 4 of 111
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by techapocalypse View Post


    I don't necessarily think it'll be updated before the cycle period because it's still such a hot item and the holidays are coming up so now that they've caught up on the production of them you'd think a new model would make it impossible for anyone to get...i do see them announcing one in January tho.



    Accelerating their product cycle on the very hottest products would ensure copycats would have greater difficulty catching up, or simply shut them out entirely.
  • Reply 5 of 111
    "their FaceTime-equipped successors are said to be tracking for an introduction no later than the first quarter of next year." Since the first iPad was introduced in April of 2010 and the end of the first quarter of 2011 being April, wouldn't that make it a 12 mouth product cycle?
  • Reply 6 of 111
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member
    I'm thinking about whether or not I'd get a new iPad if a new one was released by the Spring with camera.

    My gut feeling is that I probably wouldn't. My 32G wifi-only iPad is serving me quite well, and I've yet to use FaceTime one my iPhone 4. I hardly think I'd be itching to video conference on an iPad from my lap.

    Beyond a camera, I'm not seeing any other compelling features that make me dissatisfied with my current one.

    I think Apple will better spend its time bringing FaceTime to the desktop.



    Edit: I guess the one reason for a premature refresh might be as a pre-emptive features check-list strike against the upcoming imitators.
  • Reply 7 of 111
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ... an addition like FaceTime could be "the key to unlocking the potential" of the iPad.



    What a lot of BS/hype.



    What potential exactly does the iPad have that would be "unlocked"? Talk about exaggerations.



    Other than the camera, (which was planned form the start) there isn't anything the iPad can't already do that it has some kind of wild and crazy "potential" for. It will never be a competent portable computer for example without a complete change of form factor, but then it wouldn't be an iPad if it was a different size.



    It would be better if the analysts stopped thinking of these as separate devices at all and started thinking of the platform.
  • Reply 8 of 111
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by techapocalypse View Post


    I don't necessarily think it'll be updated before the cycle period because it's still such a hot item and the holidays are coming up so now that they've caught up on the production of them you'd think a new model would make it impossible for anyone to get...i do see them announcing one in January tho.



    Well, depending on the meaning of "introduced", the first iPad was introduced in Q1 of this year, or at worst, a few days later (April 3) if one means the actual release date. So a 2011 Q1 "introduction" of iPad v2 wouldn't exactly put them off a, "traditional 12-month product cycle."



    Ahead of the holiday shopping season would be a bit of a departure, mid to late November at the absolute latest. (iOS 4.2 to be released in November.)



    If they could pull it off, it's not entirely fantastic that they might, as long as it doesn't disrupt production at that important time. And, enabling FaceTime might not be that big a deal: same exact form factor and slap a camera in (maybe two), and then it's all just software. And the camera(s) would likely be of the iPod Touch variety rather than the iPhone, since an iPad isn't really going to be ideal as a camera/video recorder because of it's size. (It would give new meaning to large format photography, though.)
  • Reply 9 of 111
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    Accelerating their product cycle on the very hottest products would ensure copycats would have greater difficulty catching up, or simply shut them out entirely.



    let the copy cats come. Bring it on. They don't have the hardware/software prowess like Apple. Besides, what ever they do it is just like the other guy's crap. No one has a productivity suite like iworks for ipad and a in-house OS built from the ground like ISO and OSX. All them mother******* OEMs are nothing but a bunch of lemmings.

    And I don't believe facetime is so important that Apple would update the ipad this early just to include a freaking camera.
  • Reply 10 of 111
    "possible launch ahead of this year's holiday shopping season"



    This confirms what my gut has been telling me for almost 2 months. It makes so much sense for Apple to update the iPad hardware around November. And then Steve Jobs mentioned last week that the iPad was getting HDR photos in November, which would require the iPad to have a camera in November.



    A front facing camera, and maybe more RAM, are some of the only hardware advantage the (future) iPad competitors have going for them. If Apple comes out with the iPad 2, with front and back cameras, FaceTime, 512 MB of RAM, before the holiday season, it will completely crush any supposed competition. I'm already skeptical any of the future competitors will gain much of the table market, but with a new iPad, it will literally be like the Kin release. All the competitors will be DOA.



    Imagine this linup:

    iPad v1 starts at $400

    iPad v2 starts at $500 (with cameras, FaceTime, and twice the RAM)

    New iPod touch starts at $229

    That right there will be a bloodbath for the holiday season.



    Now imagine if Apple can put the RetinaDisplay in the iPad 2. That's quite a few pixels, and might require a beefier GPU, but it would be awesome.
  • Reply 11 of 111
    I for one have held off on getting an iPad for this very reason since iPhone 4 was unveiled. I think this true for how many people feel. If they were to release one in Nov. I would def. be getting one for me and maybe my mom for xmas. If not, I will wait like I have been since June. iOS 4.2 will certainly satisfy many people with software features, but it is the camera/Facetime that many have been waiting for even before the iPad was announced. I certainly can for see many current iPad owners having envy of the new iPad's and being disappointed tho.
  • Reply 12 of 111
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GQB View Post


    My 32G wifi-only iPad is serving me quite well, and I've yet to use FaceTime one my iPhone 4. I hardly think I'd be itching to video conference on an iPad from my lap.



    What, your chin isn't good-looking enough?
  • Reply 13 of 111
    People can diss the camera, but it has a lot of value for many. My wife's brother loves 13,000 miles away and video chats are important.



    And when kids go away to college parents are going to want to have video chat when possible.



    Or the kids get married and have a baby. You better believe that the grandparents will want to have video chat when they live in a different town.



    I can see a lot of value - to the point that it is a critical feature for me to reach for the wallet.



    The only question I see is if I can buy my wife one for Christmas.
  • Reply 14 of 111
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,382member
    "Time-equipped successors are said to be tracking for an introduction no later than the first quarter of next year."



    I'd say in time for Christmas would be a better target if possible.
  • Reply 15 of 111
    I will buy an iPad when it has 2 fully functional USB ports.
  • Reply 16 of 111
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,382member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Undo Redo View Post


    What, your chin isn't good-looking enough?



    LOL, there are stands you know



    But ... I think Apple should ship an extra feature that allows you to alter your face (kind of like PhotoBooth) with options like ... ten years younger, twenty years younger ...
  • Reply 17 of 111
    I'm still puzzled on why the iPad didn't have a camera in the first place. They were able to shove one on last year's Nano.. Then maybe they wouldn't have to go out of cycle to release the second generation (that's if).



    Maybe a Bluetooth "clip on" camera made by a third party or Apple themselves will become available? Just so the original iPad doesn't get left out when iPad 2 comes out with a camera. I don't know. Just a thought..



    It may not be a big deal to some but it is to some people.. Apple is promoting FaceTime heavily so I guess it is a big deal for them as well.
  • Reply 18 of 111
    Maybe it will be on the rumored 7" model. That may be a better size for FaceTime anyway. Seems that Apple is limited by their production ramp because they can only get 2-3 million screens per month. By going to a 7" screen, they may have more availability for the holidays.
  • Reply 19 of 111
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Undo Redo View Post


    What, your chin isn't good-looking enough?



    You won't be getting camera shots of your chin, at least if you're looking at the person to whom you are speaking. The real problem I've noticed with FaceTime so far is angling the camera so it's not taking pictures of the ceiling, and keeping it steady.
  • Reply 20 of 111
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Vatdoro View Post


    "possible launch ahead of this year's holiday shopping season"



    This confirms what my gut has been telling me for almost 2 months. It makes so much sense for Apple to update the iPad hardware around November. And then Steve Jobs mentioned last week that the iPad was getting HDR photos in November, which would require the iPad to have a camera in November.



    A front facing camera, and maybe more RAM, are some of the only hardware advantage the (future) iPad competitors have going for them. If Apple comes out with the iPad 2, with front and back cameras, FaceTime, 512 MB of RAM, before the holiday season, it will completely crush any supposed competition. I'm already skeptical any of the future competitors will gain much of the table market, but with a new iPad, it will literally be like the Kin release. All the competitors will be DOA.



    Imagine this linup:

    iPad v1 starts at $400

    iPad v2 starts at $500 (with cameras, FaceTime, and twice the RAM)

    New iPod touch starts at $229

    That right there will be a bloodbath for the holiday season.



    Now imagine if Apple can put the RetinaDisplay in the iPad 2. That's quite a few pixels, and might require a beefier GPU, but it would be awesome.



    Did Steve Jobs specifically say that about the iPad and HDR? Not a misspeak related to iOS4 coming in November?



    I don't know about the Table market, I think Microsoft has that.



    I would say that if a new model comes this year, it will be 7" with a camera, same resolution, same amount of RAM, lower price, and a lower quality screen.
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