While we’ve seen and heard a lot of rumors about Apple’s plans for the iPhone 6, there hasn’t been much in the way of new details on the company’s upcoming iPads. An analyst note from a few weeks back suggested Apple will refresh the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina this year, likely during the third quarter. We’ve been mostly assuming that Apple will toss in a new A8 processor, maybe Touch ID on the home button, and call it a day.
On Friday, a site called One More Thing posted a picture of what is allegedly the front panel for the new iPad Air. MacRumors notes, however, that Apple may actually change the technology up a bit, opting for a display with an integrated screen, instead of two different parts (the glass panel and a separate screen component).
iFixit told MacRumors that this method isn’t unusual and that Apple already uses a similar technique on its Retina MacBook. However, iFixit told MacRumors that the design can add to the repair costs. If a display cracks now, you can usually get away with a new glass panel, provided the screen underneath is still in tact. If a combo display/screen cracks, you’ll need to replace the whole package.
There are benefits to this design, though. Combining the two could potentially allow Apple to create a thinner product. Or, maybe the company needs a bit more space inside of the existing shell for other components, like a bigger battery or something else entirely. The iPad mini with Retina display and the iPad Air are already super thin, but there’s definitely a competition among tablet makers to get to the thinnest design possible.