9to5Mac has just posted unconfirmed images, which they claim are of the rear panel of the next generation iPad.
While we cannot confirm that the above image is legitimate, it does provide a solid representation of what Apple’s next iPad will likely look like. We were told this is a prototype back piece for the fifth-generation iPad with a 9.7-inch display. We were also told that the casing is almost as thin as the iPad mini’s back (pictured to the right). As you can see at the top of the purported iPad 5 backplate, this casing would likely be for an LTE model – as the black antenna cut implies.
Last week, iLounge‘s Jeremy Horwitz had claimed to have gotten his hands on an early unfinished prototype of the 5th generation iPad. He said that device will adopt many of the features seen in the iPad mini’s design.
What does it look like? Well, it’s a lot smaller than one would guess was possible: in portrait orientation, picture a 9.7” screen with virtually no left or right bezels, and only enough space above and below the screen to accommodate the mandatory camera and Home Button elements. Beyond that, it’s noticeably thinner, as well, which is to say the the fifth-generation iPad will be smaller in every dimension than its predecessors. As it will have the same chamfered edges and curves, calling it a “stretched iPad mini” is very close to entirely accurate.
I really like the design of the iPad mini, so I hope that the next generation iPad looks like it and is also much lighter.