iPhone SDK 4.0 suggests new cameras for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad
Resources tucked away in the new iPhone SDK 4.0 provide strong hints that videoconferencing is coming. And that implies that future iPhone, iPhone touch and iPad models may be equipped with front-facing cameras.
One of the features missing from the iPhone and related devices has been a front-facing camera to allow video calls or video chat.
While video calling is not as popular as some telcos might like, video chat and video conferencing is used quite widely. The difference largely comes down to cost: video calling is a premium service (eg, Telstra charges 55c per 30 seconds compared with 37c for voice), while video chat comes out of the user’s Internet quota for the month.
9to5mac has noted the presence of various resources in the iPhone SDK 4.0 that signal the addition of video chat or conferencing.
In particular, the Conference framework includes a number of strings such as “Creating video conference call” and “Finalizing video conference call”.
Video chat/conferencing is pretty pointless on a handheld device that lacks a front-facing camera, so it is a reasonable assumption that this year’s iPhone and iPod touch – plus the next revision of the iPad – will have front-facing cameras.
9to5mac speculates that video chat could be used as part of Game Center, Apple’s forthcoming social gaming network.
There’s also the question of when the relevant APIs will be opened to third party developers. It is quite possible that they will be initially available only to Apple software such as iChat.
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