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Leaked pictures of fourth-gen iPod touch: Is that a FaceTime camera?

What looks to be leaked pics of the fourth-generation iPod touch have appeared online -- and it has a front-facing camera

What looks to be the fourth-generation iPod touch has appeared online, with pictures of the next-gen iPod leaked to MacRumors from a parts supplier -- and it has a hole for a front-facing camera in the front bezel.

Unlike the iPhone, the iPod touch has never included a camera -- its addition would greatly increase the value of the device as a combination music-player/mobile computer. And if the quality matches up to the iPhone 4, Apple may have another winner on its hands.

This is particularly interesting if you consider that the camera could potentially be used for FaceTime -- Apple's video-calling service across Wi-Fi.

At the moment, FaceTime is limited to the iPhone 4, which is out of reach for many due to its price and the prospect of a long-term contract.

If the iPod touch fourth-gen carries a camera, the implication might be that FaceTime could become feasible for owners of a wide range of devices, such as BlackBerry, Nokia or Android.

It could be the first step towards competing with Skype, which recently updated its iPhone app to work with the iPhone 4's front camera. Presumably it would also work with the new iPod touch.

How would FaceTime work without a phone number to call? As Boy Genius Report speculated, you could register your Apple ID with a device, and allow other devices to call it using your email address. Eventually, rather than using phone numbers, Apple could connect every one of its devices through FaceTime -- conceivably make it more widely available.

The iPad and iPhone have hogged headlines recently, and it's likely the iPod touch will continue to fly under the radar. Despite its modest representation in the media (the poor thing is camera shy, after all) the iPod touch is still a popular device and, considering the changes we saw between the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4, we expect the same level of development with the next iteration of the iPod touch.

Image credit: MacRumors