back to article Does Apple patent claim show iPad with built-in camera?

A strong hint that Apple will indeed include a camera in subsequent versions of the super-hyped iPad was revealed in an “image capturing device” patent application submitted by the company late last month, The Register has learned. USPTO patent application 20100020222 strongly alludes to the inclusion of a camera - not just in …


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  1. Tony Paulazzo
    Jobs Horns

    # 456345211

    >The patent claim - ‘Image Capturing Device with Touch Screen for Adjusting Camera Settings’ <

    Proof the patent system is broken.

    Point of fact, my HP TX2s inbuilt camera is controlled via the touch screen, pretty sure these systems have been on the market since before June of last year.

    1. Mephistro
      Jobs Horns

      Totally agree

      There where several phones with touchscreens and cameras long before the iPod. Even if that weren't the case, patenting "use interface X for controlling device Y" should not be allowed under any circumstances. Actually you can patent things like "Using a windows dialog to control a printer".

      90% of these crappy patents would vanish if the appeal process for patents were less cumbersome and the Patent Office employees where evaluated based on the number of successful appeals. That won't happen, though, as the actual system works perfectly for big companies with their own patent lawyers, who use the system as a tool for killing competition. :(

      The icon? St.Steve accusing Google of being evil, and then presenting a patent like this.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Broken system

      I agree. I have two devices with me now: A Nokia N97 and a HTC TyTN. Both have touch screens. Both have not one but two built in cameras. Heck, I have a old Sony Clie UX50 from 2001, and guess what? It has a built in camera that's controlled by a touch screen as well!

      Granade. It's what I'd like to give the USPO if they approve this.

  2. SuperTim


    None of that looks any different to what the iPhone would be described as. Touch screen operating camera functions? Yep.

    It isnt a massive stretch to take the camera of an iphone and mount it to face the user to make a webcam of sorts but this isnt anything they could say was new and patentable if they dont specifically mention it is to face the user, as it is all covered by patents for touchscreen cameras in genral.

  3. Tim Croydon
    Thumb Down

    Er, good luck with that patent, Apple.

    Can't see this one holding up. There are already devices on the market that use touchscreen for this sort of thing (mobile phones, Samsung digital compacts, etc.). And none of the rest seems particularly novel either.

    1. Al Jones

      Since when did that ever prevent Apple getting a patent?

      (or lot's of other companies, for that matter?)

  4. brumeye

    Nothing to do with the iPad

    This patent doesn't tell us anything about the iPad's future features.

    Anyone who's had the dubious pleasure of producing a software patent will recognise the paragraph "The invention is not limited to the specific embodiments described above...". The text just means that although the inventors were patenting a feature used in the iPhone, they want to claim that any other product which uses the invention is also covered.

    Apple may choose to include a camera in the iPad, they may not. The wording in the patent doesn't make either option more likely.

  5. Matt Bucknall


    Do you think Apple keep confusing the U.S. patent office for the FCC? This looks more like a product registration than a bloody patent!

    I don't see anything remotely innovative or non-obvious in that patent application... I bet it still gets granted though. Good old U.S. patent system.

  6. Cucumber C Face
    Paris Hilton

    Probably infringing their own Newton Patent


    And I'm old enough to remember Windows Pen Computing.

    Paris - because she had the decency not to patent blo%jobs.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Patent office

    Do they just see "apple" and grant it automatically? maybe the patent office needs to clean out its fanboys.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    The camera is missing

    The camera is missing because they want you to buy the next version. It'll have .3MP because they want you to buy the one after that. Have you met Apple?

  9. Rob Crawford


    I like the term "Ear Speaker"

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Typical Apple

    It really wouldn't surprise me if they release a later model with a camera, then a later model with someone else added. It's just like the iPhone. Each year they release a new model with a big change, thus tricking the fanbois into buying another one each year.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just say no.

      Standard drug dealer practices. Get em hooked on the small stuff then before they know it they're sweating and shaking in a corner begging for the latest cracked 27" iMac and telling everyone how they can handle being a fanboi.

    2. jubtastic1


      No other company in the world ever thought of making this years product better than last years, a clearly evil, greedy concept that was totally unknown in the mobile space before Apple invented it.


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        RE: Absolutely

        However, excluding a piece of functionality simply because you intend to release it in a new version hoping that your loyal customer base of muppets will buy your product again is the exact behaviour that apple have developed.

        This is different from upgrading a product set because of advances in technology that weren't available at the design of the original.

      2. Daniel 22
        Jobs Horns

        Wow, you don't come across as an apple fan at all

        Yes it's common practice to add new features to a device, but that's not what people complain about. People complain about the fact that apple *remove* features so they have somewhere to go the following year. It's not a dig at apple's products, it's a dig at their lack of effort to push the industry forward. They have one of the best interfaces, but it'll be a long time before we finally get the good hardware/software to back it up.

        Despite my love for apple, even I can see that it's wrong.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      RE:Typical Apple

      Aren't we on the 3rd release of the XBox?

      Don't MS release a new version of office ergularly - even though the old one works?

      I'm desperately trying to understand what you are implying Apple are doing that everyone else isn't.

  11. The Indomitable Gall

    There will be a camera, but...

    Yes, there'll be a camera-equipped model -- it's inevitable.

    However, this patent is not evidence of this. Even if they had no plans to make one themselves, it's in Apple's interest to make sure that every patent they make for the iPhone covers as many devices as possible, if only to make sure that anyone who wants to do it has to pay through the nose.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: There will be a camera, but...

      "if only to make sure that anyone who wants to do it has to pay through the nose."

      I think it's more a case of just to make sure that if someone else's patent covers (or is close to covering) their existing products then Apple have a legal stick to wave at the other lawyers. *That's* what's wrong with the US patent system -- having relieved the PO of any responsibility for weeding out silly patents, they are left with a system where the *first* move in even the silliest of disputes is potentially phenomenally expensive.

  12. mafoo


    Maybe AT&T saw a forward facing camera and screamed!

    "No IP video data over our shoddy network! We only allow 3G phones to do video conferencing because no one ever uses it! If you put one in we'll report you we'll.... we'll... not play with you."

  13. Annihilator Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    "“I'm afraid we don’t comment on rumour or speculation,” said a company spokeswoman."

    Is this the first time that Apple have even answered the phone when they see "El Reg" flashing up on caller ID?? Maybe the company spokeswoman was new, and hasn't read the guidebook yet :-)

    1. jubtastic1
      Thumb Up

      Deserves it's own post I think

      I'm guessing someone somewhere got a P45 for that no comment.

  14. Dr. Funk.

    so, the iPad may have a camera but......

    will it have a flash ??????????

    1. Rob McDougall


      there's a giant LED flash attached to the front. It's capable of displaying many different colours - but turn them all up to full and you got yourself a front-facing flash...

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Patent electricity while you're at it...

    ...coz this patent application is so vague and broad that t may as well encompass almost every smartphone and tablet made since they started making them with colour screens.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Nearly all electronic devices leave gaps for potential upgrades. All the products I've worked have a little proof-of-concept done, and then the manager would say "We aren't going to include it, but leave the means for it so we don't have to redo everything if we change our minds". In a few of those products they actually have gone back and added it, in some they changed the design enough that it had to be all redone anyway, but in most they didn't add it at all.

  17. Gareth Gouldstone

    Price Points

    My guess is that the first generation will not be feature-packed, simply to keep it to a price point. As the cost of manufacturing falls with increasing volumes, they will add in the desirable extras for the same price, or even less. The camera probably fits this feature-creep model.

    Alternatively, the camera may be added as a factory-fitted option at purchase, even on first release.

  18. h 6
    Dead Vulture

    Oh FFS!

    The iPad was not super-hyped.

    Apple said very little about it, but it was the CLICK ON ME TO SEE MY ADS tech rags like El Reg that fell over like a little girl at sight of any news on the device and blabbed about it til blue in the screen.

    I love El Reg and no offense to little girls, but sometimes Reg bats at a lifeless equine and just gets a wee bit too full of themselves doing it.

    And blabbing about "super-hyped" ipad is one of those instances.

  19. h 6
    Jobs Halo


    >“I'm afraid we don’t comment on rumour or speculation,” said a company spokeswoman.

    They are back to talking to you again?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fingers Crossed

    Perhaps they'll offer a camera on the $1000 multitasking OS X 11.0 model ...

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    How about a built in....

    Standard USB interface?

    Without that, I can see at least one major selling point of the iPad effectively junked - photography - being able to review photos where you are on a large screen and send them. IOW, plug your camera directly into the iPad, download the photo's, edit them if you want, then fling them across the net, upload to flickr etc.

    But then, Apple would lose tie-in deals with all the peripheral manufactures, so bang goes that idea.

    We know if there's a camera, it's going to be low res and pointless for decent snaps, but being able to plug your digital camera directly into the device will be the mutts nuts.

    Don't even get me started on the networking potential of the device, but that too will be locked into iTunes and require shelling out more bucks for a file transfer application from the App Store - when Apple could so easily bundle it directly in.

    But it's all based on revenue streams - it's just too damn commercial and 'locked up' for some geeks.

    There's SO much stuff that's going to be missing from the first iteration of this device, it's pointless buying it.

    Wait 18 months, till the 2nd generation is out and has been jail broken, THEN we'll have a device worth investigating.

    Heck, I've got myself so pissed off about Apples stubborn closed systems, I'm going to jailbreak my damn iTouch again and kick the cat.

  22. Al Jones

    Whatever happened to "A person having ordinary skill in the art"?

    I don't even have "ordinary skill in the art" of designing mobile devices, and it seems pretty bloody obvious to me!

    What are the chances that the iPad actually does have a camera, and Steve didn't mention it because he wants to surprise everyone when the unit actually ships? Just think about the mediagasm that would cause!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Apple are such wankers!

    Forgive me if I've misunderstood the point of this patent but if you have a device, say a smartphone or tablet which includes a camera (which most phones do these days) and has few if any physical controls then surely it's a no brainer that camera controls will be on the touchscreen.

    But of course given how stupid the American patent office seems to be, seems like a sure thing for apple.

    El Reg, please remove the iFan pic, there's no call for it to exist (not that there ever was).

  24. Rod MacLean

    RE:Apple are such wankers!

    "El Reg, please remove the iFan pic, there's no call for it to exist (not that there ever was)"

    and while you're about it, please can you add a new one for Microsoft?

    We've all seen Bill in a halo and Bill with horns but realistically it's not "Good MS" and "Bad MS" articles we seen in El Reg, it's always "Incompetent MS" so maybe that one of Bill getting a pie in the face?

  25. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: RE:Apple are such wankers!

    If you could kindly submit a formal request list for new comment icons, then we can ignore it appropriately. You can't expect us to properly ignore every comment that comes through here.


  26. Ancient Oracle funkie
    Paris Hilton

    Am I missing something?

    Who the heck wants a camera that, no matter how thin, is still 9.5 x 7.5 inches. Having touch screen controls would just make it even more unusable wouldn't it?

    But then when has practicality ever stopped the fanbois?

    Paris - because she knows how to control big things just by touch

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Did anyone click on the mission repair blog?

    Is that real? It looks plausible and if so, then Apple are taking the piss - webcams are cheap, they're old tech, there's a place ready for it... the _only_ reason they could possibly exclude it is to force you to buy another ipad in 12 months. So you fanbois can all y'all fuck off - that's indefensible even to you appletards.

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