A Chinese accessory maker is flashing images of an iPad enclosure claiming it’s designed for the next-generation iPad 5. Apple suppliers have indicated that the tablet won’t see the light of day until fall of 2013.Obtained from a China-based iPad accessory maker, the photos in question depict the rear shell of the alleged fifth-generation iPad.
The hardware is well in line with recent rumors about the iPad 5 adopting a new design akin to that of the iPad mini.
Like the diminutive tablet computer, the iPad 5 (if this leak proves accurate) will have a slimmer overall footprint with chamfered edges and a narrower screen bezel.
The shell pictured above appears to be from a cellular model. The plastic window on the back is known to be reserved for the tablet’s antennas.
The metal slate features a hole for the rear-facing camera where Apple will undoubtedly include an even more powerful (8-megapixel?) imaging sensor.
Developers have recently discovered references to a 128GB iDevice in iOS 6.1 and the iPad 5 certainly fits the profile.
9to5mac is told that the enclosure is almost as thin as the one used in the iPad mini. In other words, expect an insanely thin iPad 5 from Apple this year. The device will set the benchmark for all the tablets to come (not that it doesn’t already).
The site was also told that this part is “a prototype back piece for the fifth-generation iPad with a 9.7-inch display.”
Apple is known to unify the designs of its products by shaping them up to look like the most popular of the lot. The all-aluminum MacBook line is a good example of that.
On the tablet front, the iPad mini has become the most loved tablet of all Apple tablets. So no wonder Apple is designing the larger ones to look the same.