Apple released iPhone SDK 3.2 Beta 4 yesterday, and developers sunk their teeth right in to determine what new features or hints of coming features might be lurking in the codebase. What a number of developers turned up, within hours of the SDK's release, surprised many. There is a good deal of evidence contained within the SDK to indicate that Apple is either currently developing, or already prepared for, video conferencing via a front-facing camera in the iPad.
MacRumors reported today that developers who dug around in the newly released SDK turned up the following variables related to camera support in the iPad
The article explained, "it seems Apple built in API support to test to see if
your iPad had a Front Facing Camera, Zoom and a Camera Flash. The front facing camera would, of course, be used for video chat, while Zoom and Camera Flash are often requested features for the iPhone's camera."
If a few lurking variables aren't enough to convince you that there's something serious in the works regarding video conferencing support on the iPad, 9to5Mac's investigations turned up icons sized specifically for the iPad for accepting or declining an invitation to a video chat.
There's not much indication thus far on how far along this support is. Chances are, if it is popping up in the SDK, the support is fairly well along, leaving many to wonder why Apple would have decided to leave such an attractive feature out of the 1.0 iPad. Some outlets are going as far as to suggest that Apple may pull an "11th hour" surprise and ship a first generation iPad that contains a front-facing camera and support for video conferencing/chat, but even the most optimistic of prospective iPad owners out there surely know just how unlikely this is.