Or, to precise, what were these apparent test devices doing on eBay, before they were unceremoniously yanked? And are they real?

Speaking to the second question, the answer is a firm probably. Here's the evidence:

• The device is running the iPhone OS diagnostic/test software, similar to what's seen here.
• It appears to function, though there's no proof that the camera works
• It bears "DVT" markings, which are known to mean "design verification test," and be plastered on early prototype hardware
• It look feels right—the markings are clean, the camera installation is convincing, and Apple's inclusion of a camera in the last iPod Nano implies that they're keen to put cameras in as many places as possible. And hell, they've even got a patent for an iPod Touch with a camera. It's about time, really.

But that's not to say there's nothing weird here. As mentioned before, the camera is never shown working in the eBay listing. It also doesn't physically match up another relatively convincing leak—that turned out to be almost certainly real—from a while back, when an iPod Touch with an offset camera turned up in the hands of some radio DJs. And perhaps the most damning bit of evidence is the model number: A1318, which is the same as the current iPod Touch. As for what they were doing on eBay, well, maybe whoever had them was feeling emboldened in light of recent events. Maybe!

So, what is this thing? It could be a prototype of next iPod Touch, but I'm willing to bet it's an older test design for a feature that never quite made it into the last-gen model. Either way, though, you can probably expect to see a camera in the next Touch. Probably. [9to5Mac]