Apple's iPad is reportedly getting a camera feature in the new year, and the computer maker is looking to sell 36 million of the tablet devices in 2011, according to a Reuters report.

But as Apple (AAPL) heads into the final stretch of the critical holiday shopping season, this latest report of a front and rear-facing camera iPad could take a toll on sales of the tablet computer. Folks may be willing to accept a quasi-rain check under the tree, if it means getting an iPad with camera capabilities a few months down the road.

That would be bad news for Apple, which already disappointed Wall Street with its iPad sales in its last quarter. During its fiscal fourth quarter, Apple sold 4.2 million of the devices when some analysts were expecting in excess of 5 million.

But Gleacher & Co. analyst Brian Marshall doesn't expect Apple's holiday iPad sales to be affected by the recent reports of a new camera-loaded iPad.

"Instant Gratification" May Mean That Some Can't Wait

"People want instant gratification, so I don't think these reports will affect holiday sales," Marshall said, noting he expects Apple to sell 6 million units during the December quarter. "I expect the iPad 2 to be launched sometime in the April time frame."

He noted that Apple will likely want to save an iPhone-CDMA-coming-to-Verizon announcement for the March quarter, which leaves an iPad announcement for the spring.

Production for Apple's next iPad is expected to begin in the first quarter and feature a dual camera set up similar to its iPhone 4, as well as an enhanced resolution display, according to the Reuters report. Apple may be taking a page from its iPhone 4's Retina display. Additionally, the next iPad version is expected to be slimmer and lighter than the previous version, according to the report.

Speculation that Apple would develop a tablet computer with a camera surfaced as Apple Founder Steve Jobs was preparing to unveil the iPad last year, as well as following his keynote.

Meanwhile, in late October, Barron's posted a blog noting that OmniVision would pony up image sensors for the next iPad. The Barron's report, citing a research note from investment company Detwiler Fenton, said the dual camera-touting iPad would feature a five-mega-pixel camera and a VGA camera.

Although Marshall expects Apple strong iPad sales in the December quarter, he doesn't expect the arrival of iPad camera features to jack up future sales dramatically. Marshall anticipates Apple will sell 5.1 million units in the March quarter, 5.6 million in the June quarter, 6 million units in the September quarter and 8.3 million in the December quarter next year.

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Adding a camera wouldn't be useful to me. It won't make me run out to buy an iPAd. If Apple adds a USB port I might buy one. Until then, I'll save my $$.

December 13 2010 at 2:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Shocker! Apple gauging the market then coming out with some little addtion 6 mos later, a mod here, a mod there, everywhere a mod mod. APPLE you ARE the American success story: screw the public every 6 mos using no lube and they still love you in the morning. Unbelievable....

December 13 2010 at 1:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Apple needs to add 2.0 USB ports to the Ipad. Forget about a camera. The Ipad does not need to be any thinner. It is the perfect size the way it is. All of the IPads competition has smaller screens and are fat.

December 13 2010 at 12:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I want a USB port to plug in an external hard drive, air port to connect to wifi, and bluetooth to connect to keyboard and mouse.

December 13 2010 at 10:49 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I JUST bought two Apads. These already have all the functions the Ipods do but also already has the camera ability. My cost was only $200. a piece at a distribution sale here in Oklahoma. If anyone's interested I have the web site the distributer I bought it from. I love the USB port it comes with so I can attach a full size keyboard. I'm deploying to Iraq and this could be more perfect especially with the non glare screen it comes with. See full article from DailyFinance:

December 13 2010 at 9:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

While iPad2 is going to be good and on par in features with Galaxy tab, it'll probably cost the same $500 - $800 as the current iPad or even more. However, for $249 you can now get Android eReader/tablet hybrid device which combines the better parts of both eReader and tablet worlds. Such device is Nook Color from Barnes & Noble which has USB port (unlike current iPad). Nook Color has a new generation screen which is anti-glare coated and is better performing in sunlight and for reducing eye strain than current iPad's. The screen is one of the best and sharpest on the market and it's viewable at wide angles. It is great for PDF's, much better than Kindle. From the cost side, while more expensive than e-Ink Nook or Kindle, you can buy two Nook Color's for the price of one iPad. One can say that there's not many apps available for Nook Color - yet. Nook Color has several apps that already come with the device (Pandora Internet radio, QuickOffice, etc.) Also, Barnes & Noble recently released Nook SDK and Nook Developer platform that will allow most of the existing 100,000 Android apps be ported to it. With each firmware update, the device will become better and better and more and more apps will appear for it. Don't forget that it was only released in November of this year and (according to the new reports) B&N is scheduled to ship more than 1 million units by the end of 2010 - yes, in a little more than one month! Rest assured, a lot of existing and new Android apps will be flowing in for this device very soon.

December 10 2010 at 4:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Any talk of adding a USB port?

December 10 2010 at 12:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply