Even though it’s only been a few months since Apple unveiled the fourth-generation iPad, the rumor mill is already rife with iPad 5 talk. The tablet has reportedly been redesigned to look like the iPad mini, with a thinner profile and smaller bezels.

Well if that really is the case, then this purported next-gen iPad shell fits the bill perfectly. It’s dipped in the same black & slate color as the iPad mini, and features a similar design with chamfered edges and a smaller overall footprint…

ipad52 9to5mac

The images of the shell come from 9to5Mac, who say they received the ‘unverified’ photos from a purported China-based iPad accessories maker.

“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.”

As aforementioned, the component matches up with a recent report from iLounge’s Jeremy Horwitz, who says that he has seen a physical model of the fifth generation iPad.

“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.”

It’s worth noting, though, that Horwitz’ report called for an October release of both the next-gen iPad and iPad mini. This part leak, if accurate, would suggest that the new iPad would be arriving much closer to its usual Spring timeframe.

On top of that, evidence has recently popped up regarding an unknown iPad model with 128GB of storage. It’s possible that the two are related. Or, as suggested by John Gruber, it’s possible that a 128GB version of the current iPad will hit in the Spring, with a redesigned iPad 5 landing in the fall.

Regardless, I find this design to be a significant improvement over the previous one. Here’s hoping it’s accurate.

What are your thoughts on the iPad-mini like rear shell?

  • Looks great.

    • no it looks boring just another shape just like buying Mexican food its all the same just in different shapes..olol

      • Ben

        So you want a triangle iPad?

      • Kurt

        anything different would be good. can’t stand the same ol’ each year. dont be afraid of change. its a good thing. well, except for the change the usa got in 2008 haha

      • Ben

        Each to there own I guess. I really like the backplate on the iPad Mini though so hope it goes through to the next iPad. This would be enough in terms of looks, at the end of the day though, I’d prefer more effort put into the software than the looks of an already awesome looking device.

      • Kurt

        the back of the ipad mini nice. the front is ugly since its a 2007 design. i wish they would do something different with the front. but more importantly, like you said, the software is where more effort is needed

      • Ben

        Yea, have to agree that the front does need a small overhaul.

    • Hyr3m

      Looks like my Kindle Fire HD! 😛

      • Kurt

        kindle fire is more attractive. i still think the best looking ipad was the original. except i prefer it in white. the back and sides were more elegant than the boring ipod touch look

      • Hyr3m

        Problems with any iPad (besides the mini) :
        – Screen too small for a device this big.
        – Too heavy for prolonged “carry in your hand”-use
        – Too expensive for how useless it is.
        – It’s a toy presented as a tool.

      • Kurt

        – Screen too small for a device this big. …(huh?)
        – Too heavy for prolonged “carry in your hand”-use…(agree)
        – Too expensive for how useless it is….(agree)
        – It’s a toy presented as a tool….(agree, agree, agree)

        i think MS has it right with combining the two OSes…but without good 3rd party apps, meh. but i’d still rather have a real OS then only a mobile OS. sooner or later windows 8 will take over.

      • Hyr3m

        I meant the bezel is too wide… I really like the shape factor of the mini for comparison… the normal iPad should’ve looked like this from the start imho.

        Windows RT is bullshit from MS trying to fight Apple with it’s own weapons (toys)… although it’s kinda been “jailbroken” already so we should see more stuff coming to that platform.

        Windows 8 and the surface are the only way to go; giving the user mobility AND freedom.

        If you need me I’ll be sipping a nice Kir and looking at AAPL getting lower while I make money on their back. (Shorted them at ~650$, I knew it would get down under 450…)

      • Kurt

        thats awesome, hold out a little longer, the price will keep going down. i wish i would have thought about it.

  • JWu

    Looks like they are going with a narrow bezel; which I think is certainly unnecessary.


      Well it seems like a thinner bezel would help make it lighter which I’m all for.

      • JWu

        To me, the weight of the iPad is not important. If I want something lightweight, I would prefer to have the iPad mini.Touching the screen while holding it with one hand would be annoying to me. I would rather have a larger battery.

      • Kurt

        yes weight is not important. i dont want my fingers covering any part of the screen when holding it. thats just dumb. also, make it thicker and give us 15 or 20 hours battery.

  • I wonder why they didn’t do this for the 4th gen, it seems to make sense to introduce it with the Mini

    • cause they made millions by reusing the same old design for that one

      • Kurt

        exactly…too many followers who don’t think for themselves, they are the ones who love little or no change year after year

  • Mohammad Ridwan

    That must be the ‘iPhone Math’ that everyone’s talking about…. 😛

  • release date? and still no flash?