Some new photos popped up on China’s Sina Weibo microblogging site this weekend of what is claimed to be the rear shell of a second-gen iPad Air. Posted by accessory maker Yi Lin Enterprises, the photos could shed some light on what Apple’s upcoming tablet looks like.

For the most part, the component matches up with the one found on the current iPad Air, but there are a few differences. For starters, the speaker grille now features one row of large holes instead of two rows of tiny holes, and it looks like the rear mic has been relocated…

ipad air 2Click to enlarge

Additionally, as Nowhereelse.fr points out, the cutout for the volume buttons appears to be more recessed than before, suggesting that they would sit nearly flush with the shell. Also, there doesn’t appear to be space for the mute/orientation lock toggle seen on current iPads.

This isn’t the first bit of evidence we’ve seen regarding the so-called ‘iPad Air 2.’ A high quality dummy model appeared in photos and on video last month, and a purported front panel leaked back in April. And thus far, all of the pieces seem to line up with each other nicely.

As for internals, the new iPad Air is expected to be slimmer than its predecessor, with a faster A8 processor and a Touch ID-enabled Home button. There’s no word on an official launch date, but it looks like Apple is shooting for sometime in mid-October like it did last year.

  • Sachin

    How come there is none iWatch leak? Whether display or chip etc like iPhone 6.

    • David Gitman

      Maybe because iWatch will not be announced?

    • Rowan09

      Usually they keep unreleased products very secret, but once it’s released it seems like it’s easy to get a leak.

    • Aaron

      Either because the iWatch doesn’t exist (yet), the iWatch that’s being built isn’t an “obvious” apple product hence nobody has bothered to leak it, or because Apple are going to do a Mac Pro and announce it ahead of production to build hype.

    • Tommy Gumbs

      Because the rumor mill won’t let it die…..

  • David Gitman

    How about iPad Pro?

  • onesimpleclik

    How about an iPad with forward firing speakers? That’s what I want.

  • Technocrz!

    whats the different, whats the point of excitement, Tablet sales are already declining, better luck next time.

    • felixtaf

      That doesn’t mean that tablets are bad. The FACT is people don’t upgrade to a newer version each year!

      I have an iPad Air and I wont upgrade for another 2 years if mine is working fine. I know people who are still enjoying their iPad 3 (Some of them on iPad 2 too)

      • Technocrz!

        Agree, my point is same there isnt excitement to upgrade.

      • BoardDWorld

        I bet if they had put the finger print scanner in and improved the cameras sales would have been better.

      • N&LH

        I don’t think Touch ID will make difference to the iPad…Software is the key. Apple needs to introduce new software features in the iPad

      • Blip dude

        Exactly, I use my iPad Air a lot but I feel I could be using it a LOT more if there were more features exclusive to the iPad.

      • Ch Humza Masood Chaudrey

        Actually, they might add split screen multitasking too…
        so apple haters haven’t shown up yet,huh…

      • Sohail Wahab

        I still use iPad 3 & works just fast & fine on iOS 7

      • Ch Humza Masood Chaudrey

        same here dude!

      • Ch Humza Masood Chaudrey

        iPad 3! the best!

  • Y4VIN

    I’m noticing the apple cut-out again… Light up apple logo?

    • rockdude094

      I don’t think that’s possible yet. It does look like the logo could be used as an antenna assembly, which will later be put together.

    • FrankensteinBlack

      Possible Lighted Logo? Yes, but more likely for an NFC antenna…

    • Ch Humza Masood Chaudrey

      Actually, the iPad 2,3,4,mini,retina mini and air(not sure about iPad 1) all have cut out apple logos. the logo is made of some other material than the aluminum back shell. but i am not sure why…

  • n0ahcruz3

    Iphone 5.5″ will be the final nail in the coffin for ipad lol. Ipad or should i say tablet market is already collapsing. 5.5 screen is sufficient enough for media consumption. U want larger then switch to a laptop or tv.

  • smtp25

    Keep the iWatch – New appletv please