But is Apple planning on radically redesigning the chassis of its top-selling device? Probably not, judging by a much-discussed photo obtained by a Chinese blogger and posted today on MacRumors. The image purportedly shows the front glass and digitizer assembly on the iPad 3 – and the whole thing looks a lot like the assembly on the iPad 2.
Writing at MacRumors, Eric Slivka argues that the allegedly leaked photo, combined with earlier snapshots of the reported casing on the iPad 3, yield a pretty convincing composite portrait of the new device.
"The [display assembly] appears nearly identical to that of the iPad 2, with the major distinguishing feature being a relatively long ribbon cable extending up the side of the display as opposed to a shorter cable with a sideways orientation seen in the iPad 2," Slivka writes. "Other features of the iPad 3 display include the same round home button seen in all iOS devices so far and a hole in the top bezel to accommodate both the front-facing camera and the ambient light sensor."
Caveats apply: The veracity of these photos, which have not been substantiated by Apple, remain unclear. Still, Apple is by most indications close to unveiling its new tablet, and it makes sense that production photos of the iPad 3 would start to hit the Web around now.
"In other words, what will sell millions of new iPads is the same thing that sold all of the iPad and iPad 2 – apps," Kendrick writes. "Apps to make all of the aforementioned things happen. Apps to make common things happen in new and innovative ways. As the ads have told us for years, there’s an app for that. And they will sell millions of iPad 3 tablets. No matter what’s under the hood."