iPad Air 2 (tinhte.vn 006)

Vietnamese blog Tinhte.vn on Wednesday leaked [Google Translate] a fresh batch of images showing off what appears to be a noticeably thinner chassis for Apple’s upcoming second-generation iPad Air tablet with Touch ID fingerprint scanning.

Curiously enough, the shots show the recessed volume buttons like on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but no mute switch on the side, in turn prompting watchers to speculate that Apple may have ditched the button due to the tablet’s thin profile.

Speaking of thinness, the unit pictured on the photos is said to measure just 7 millimeters. By comparison, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are 6.9mm and 7.1mm thin, respectively, and the iPhone 5s measures 7.6mm in depth.

Take these images with a heaped spoonful of salt because it’s unclear whether this is a dummy chassis someone in Asia may have created or 3D-printed in their dorm room or one of the prototype units — you can clearly see that the unit lacks Apple’s famous fit and finish and that unmistakably smoked Apple look.

iPad Air 2 (tinhte.vn 007)

Matching up with previous leaks, there’s a new speaker grille design with a single row of larger holes instead of two rows of tiny holes. Again, similar to the iPhone 6 design. Hopefully, the larger holes should enable louder sound.

iPad Air 2 (tinhte.vn 002)

The front plate is reminiscent of the current iPad Air design.

iPad Air 2 (tinhte.vn 001)

Lo and behold, the mute switch that used to be on the right side seems to be missing, for reasons unknown. If Apple’s engineers had to ditch the mute switch due to the device’s thin profile, there may be a software mute switch available in Control Center, but that’s just silly speculation on my part.

For what it’s worth, the current iPads allow users to quickly mute audio by holding down the volume down button. Moreover, iOS makes it easy to assign rotation lock function to the mute switch. Rotation lock is also available via a shortcut in Control Center.

iPad Air 2 (tinhte.vn 003)

Notice a tiny hole on the side shot above? If I were a betting man, I’d say this is for a second microphone to improve Siri performance or for noise cancelation. At any rate, you can clearly see that this particular unit lacks Apple’s fit an finish. But then again, early iPhone 6 leaks were also crude in appearance, but still genuine.

iPad Air 2 (tinhte.vn 005)

iPad Air 2 (tinhte.vn 004)

The Touch ID button seen top of post is made of glass, the blog asserted without mentioning anything about sapphire coating Apple uses to protect the sophisticated fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5s, 6 and 6 Plus.

And here’s a hands-on video, via French blog NowhereElse.fr.

Recode’s reliable John Paczkowski recently reported that the iPad Air 2 is up for an announcement at an Apple media event scheduled for next Thursday, October 16, at the company’s Town Hall Auditorium in Cupertino, California.

Among the hardware features we’re expecting: a new speaker grille design, a relocated microphone, a brand new anti-reflective screen coating, Touch ID, an in-house designed A8 or an improved A8X chip possibly with 2GB of RAM for the rumored split-screen multitasking. There should be a gold colorway, too. The device isn’t expected to feature NFC, meaning Apple Pay may be supported for online payments only.

[Tinhte.vn via MacRumors Forums]