Next iPod touch to get FaceTime-compatible camera?

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For the last few years Apple has updated its iPod lineup at an early September music-oriented event. This year will likely be no different; and it only makes sense that the next version of Apple's touch-friendly player would include some features from its latest smartphone. The higher-resolution 'Retina Display' seems like a fair bet. But recent leaks hint at another flagship iPhone 4 feature that might make it to the iPod touch: a front-facing, FaceTime-compatible camera.

The latest tidbit comes from a couple of photos leaked to MacRumors showing what looks like the front assembly of the device, and most importantly, a hole where a front-facing camera might go. The parts are stamped with markings that lend some authenticity that they are actual Apple parts. And while these kinds of images tend to start circulating before any upcoming Apple announcement, the strongest evidence that the company is planning to roll out FaceTime video calling on future non-iPhone devices actually comes from the latest iOS beta software.

Apparently, a new option in the iOS 4.1 Beta 3 "Contacts" application allows users to make FaceTime calls using either a phone number or an email address. The option would allow devices not associated with a phone number -- such as the iPad and iPod touch -- to make FaceTime calls provided they're updated with the necessary hardware. Seeing how Steve Jobs promised to deliver "tens of millions of FaceTime devices" before the end of 2010, this seems like a logical step.

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