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iPad 5 rumor rollup for the week ending August 20

John Cox | Aug. 22, 2013
Latest Apple iPad 5 scuttlebutt: Rear shells, svelteness, and Retina clues from the supply chain.

Moore seems to be using "bezel" to mean the front border or "frame" surrounding the iPad's Liquid Crystal Display (The Rollup has used the same word to mean the same thing in the past). This border is formed on the underside of the tablet's glass cover, although Moore seems to be confused about this, too. "This comes after the first four iPad generations each looking largely the same from the front, with black or white acrylic plastic surrounding the screen," he says.

This picture of the fourth-generation iPad from Apple's website, clearly shows the iPad's glass cover with, in this instance, the black frame surrounding and demarcating the actual LCD display, which lies underneath the glass.

Another view of the front cover is in this photo from iFixIt, the mobile device repair service. The picture shows the "front cover" or "front panel" or "cover glass" (iFixIt seems to use all three terms interchangeably) of the iPad -- with its surrounding front "frame" -- being lifted up. The large black rectangle beneath it, nestled in the aluminum body, is the Liquid Crystal Display. In its parts catalog, iFixIt calls this front cover the "iPad Retina Front Panel" and the "3rd or 4th Gen iPad front glass panel."

What iFixIt calls the "bezel" is the thin black "plastic" strip running around the top edge of the underlying aluminum rear case. (Here's a closer photo showing the bezel being lifted off the aluminum rear housing.)

What Moore seems to be saying is that sides of the front border or frame around the iPad's LCD display will get narrower, to resemble the proportions of the frame in the iPad mini. The difference is clear in the large photo on Apple's main iPad webpage, which shows the iPad and iPad mini lying on their sides.

No one expects the 9.7-inch LCD display to change size in the iPad 5. If Apple's actual goal is to continue to make the iPad lighter and "smaller," then making it less wide would result in a narrower border on the sides of the front glass cover. The iPad's overall width is currently 7.31 inches wide; the iPad mini is 5.3 inches.

Moore is more or less correct when he says that "Apple has had difficulty in shrinking the full size iPad any further due to the fact that the bulk of the tablet's innards are taken up by the battery." To drive both the iPad Retina display introduced with the third-generation tablet, and its far more powerful processor including quad-core graphics, and maintain acceptable battery life, Apple dramatically increased the battery size.

Apple may still be able to fit the same battery into a slightly smaller (less wide) rear housing; or it may be able to free up more internal space by changing the iPad's internal design, layout, and components; or both. CultOfMac's John Brownlee, in his post on the NowhereElse photos, mentions another possibility: if a new display technology for iPad, uses much less power, then Apple might be able to reduce the size of the battery. Brownlee mentions Sharp's IGZO technology which offers both greatly improved power efficiency, image quality and resolution.


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