Is this the next iPad?

New iPad imageHot on the heels of rumours about the next two generations of iPhone come pictures which appear to show the new iPad.

And, we have to say, if they’re real, it looks a lot like a grown-up version of the iPad Mini.

The images have been released by tech website 9to5mac.com, which says the pictures are unverified and have come from a purported China-based iPad accessories maker. While there’s no way of knowing if the images are genuine, many industry leaks do start from components manufacturers in the Far East.

The new design seems to feature a black and slate, or white and silver colour scheme, thinner casing and the chamfered edges of the iPad Mini.

9to5 said: “While we cannot confirm that the 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. 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.

The design would certainly seem to tie in with earlier rumours which suggested the new generation iPad would have a smaller footprint overall. Sources have claimed that the new iPad will have iPad Mini detailing and will be thinner and lighter.

New iPad picJapanese site macotakara has published what it claims are new dimensions for the iPad 5. “The expectation comes to have a small 4mm in height, 17mm in width, depth 2mm,” it says. Now, obviously these numbers don’t seem to make sense on the face of it if we’re talking about the fifth generation iPad’s actual size, but they could be how many millimetres smaller the new iPad will be in comparison to its predecessor.

The current fourth-generation iPad is 241.2mm by 185.7mm by 9.4mm so if those numbers are to be shaved by a few millimetres, the new gizmo will be thinner, slightly shorter and narrower – making it almost as thin as the 7.2mm iPad Mini.

At first, analysts were predicting that a fifth generation iPad would arrive around Easter this year but, more recently, suggestions are that the gizmo is facing delays and will not be available until October.

However, if this really is the next iPad design, maybe we won’t have to wait quite so long after all. The first accurate images of the iPhone 5’s backplates and components started to emerge around five months before that device was released.

Apple is also said to be busy working on its second generation iPad Mini, which is expected to include a retina display of 2048 x 1536 – the same as the third and fourth generation full size iPads.

And, sources say the Calfornian tech giant is getting ready to release an updated fourth-generation iPad – a 128GB model to join the existing 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions.

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