In a piece of news that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, AppleInsider is reporting that Apple’s highly touted FaceTime feature will soon find its way into the next-gen version of the iPad.
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.
Apple, of course, has never been a company keen on feature whoring. On the contrary, Apple’s modus operandi is to slowly, but consistently, add value to its existing products with upgrades that over time amount to huge sweeping changes. The slow churn from the original iPod to the iPod Photo to the iPod 5G Video encapsulates this product philosophy to a tee.
But in today’s competitive marketplace, Apple seems to have turned up the knobs ever so slightly. Just a few weeks ago, FaceTime was exclusive to the iPhone 4. Since then, Apple has unleashed the feature on the most recent iPod Touch, and it’s only a short while before the iPad v.2 comes equipped with a front facing video camera and FaceTime support as well.
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.
The advantage of being at the forefront of a technology is that you get to write your own playbook and can avoid being phased out by competitors. And if you know anything about Apple, they only play by their own rules.