MacRumors' Eric Slivka is even more convinced. "With both front and rear casing parts and several case designs for the fifth-generation iPad having surfaced over the past several months, we are starting to get a very good idea of how Apple is drawing on design cues from the iPad mini to design a thinner and narrower full-size iPad," he declares, before plunging into the "evidence" revealed by yet another case manufacturer, Tactus, on the company's breezily written blog.
Curiously, Slivka doesn't mention one key discrepancy between the "iPad 5" revealed by Tactus and the one revealed by Engadget's anonymous vendor. The latter, as mentioned above, shows the Next iPad keeping a single speaker location to the right of the Lightning dock port. But the Tactus case shows twin speakers, one on either side of the port.
Which sort of undermines Burns' contention that the case makers and we "know" the dimensions, since both cases can't be right. Why would Apple leak the dimensions so they can build a properly sized case that gets the speaker locations wrong?
The conventional wisdom, perfectly captured in CNET contributor's Eric Mack's blog post on the Engadget revelation, is that the "case designs popping up in Hong Kong and online add to the pile of evidence that a skinnier slate is in the works."
Mack, Lai and others are somewhat imprecise in their terms -- slimmer, skinnier, smaller -- which could refer to the iPad's thickness as well as its vertical and horizontal dimensions. Generally, people seem to mean they expect the overall size of the Next iPad's body to be smaller, while maintaining the same screen size, and for the edges to look more like the iPad mini.
This "growing pile of evidence" includes blog posts such as Mack's, which typically reference claims and rumors by third-party case makers or other accessory companies, and by anonymous sources in Apple's "Asian supply chain."
The Rollup so far hasn't seen any serious attempt to evaluate the reliability of these sources, so it's impossible to know if the pile of evidence is actually a pile of ... something else.
iPad 5 will be thinner and lighter, by redesigning display elements
Apple may be able to make the Next iPad lighter and thinner, and improve the display, by evolving its current display technologies rather than gambling on still-emerging alternatives.
That's the summary found in one of the few current examples of informed iPad 5 speculation, as CNET's Brooke Crothers posted the results of an email exchange with Paul Semenza, an analyst at NPD DisplaySearch.
Semenza says that by redesigning the light-emitting diode (LED) backlight apparatus for the iPad, Apple can reduce the size of the LED backlight and improve its efficiency. Other changes, especially shifting to a film-based touch sensor, can reduce the display's thickness.
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