While parts of what’s believed to be Apple‘s upcoming iPhone “lite”–the iPhone 5C?–have surfaced on websites for a while and in quite some detail (possibly because the phone may be being made by a different main contractor for Apple), information on the next iPad has been a bit scarce. That just changed with a new photo of what’s very likely to be the rear metal shell of a full-size iPad, presumably due for release in the fall.
The photo is courtesy of FanaticFone.com, which managed to actually get some hands-on time with the part. As you can see it is high-precision etched and carved, a unibody manufacturing technique that Apple has made its own. The form factor takes a number of design cues from the existing iPad Mini, which is thinner and shallower than the previous iPad designs have been, with a narrower bezel to the left and right of the screen when it’s held vertically than at the top and bottom. The Apple logo on the back of the device is said to be polished metal, as is the iPad Mini, which is why the internal logo shape looks distorted (it’s not really the mirror of the logo).
It’s possible the iPad 5 is due to launch next month. The device is almost as critical to maintaining Apple’s dominance in the tablet market as the next-gen iPad Mini may be.