Apple is in the advance testing stage of a rev for the iPad that includes a front-facing camera and support for FaceTime, according to a report from AppleInsider. The company is planning on releasing the device as early as the 1st quarter of 2011, a more aggressive schedule than the yearly update schedule for other iOS devices, and there are some execs in Cupertino who want to release the new version in time for the Holiday shopping season this year.
The site didn’t name names, but said its source has a “proven knowledge” with Apple’s future product plans. Apple announced the iPad in late January of 2010 and shipped it on April 23rd. For the iPod and iPhone product lines, Apple has typically held to a once-a-year upgrade cycle. A revision of the iPad in even the first quarter of 2011, let alone late in the 4th quarter of 2010, would represent a markedly accelerated product cycle.
The reason for that acceleration, according to AppleInsider, is the desire to get FaceTime on the iPad line so that all iOS devices can support the standard ahead of Apple’s announced move to release FaceTime as an open standard.
Apple has only rarely introduced product upgrades late in the calendar year. For instance, the company often announces updates to the iPod line in the month of September, updates that then start shipping in time for the holiday shopping season that revs up in late November.
For instance, Apple updated the iPod touch, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle during a media event on September 1st. The company also announced that iOS 4.2 would be released for iPad in November, but it did not use the event to announce a new iPad.