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Fifth-Generation iPad Could Be Even More Slim

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If images obtained by 9 to 5 Mac are to be believed (and why not? the site got the 128 GB iPad news correct), then the fifth-generation iPad with Retina will take on a similar look to its iPad mini sibling. Which means the next iPad could be even thinner. The image included with this post shows the backplate of the supposed iPad 5, which is black instead of the traditional silver. This leads us to believe that the next iPad would take on the same design aesthetics as the iPad mini and the iPhone 5, which feature two color schemes: black & slate, and white & silver.

The iPad backplate is shown with what we assume is an iPad mini backplate. What’s interesting about those two shells sitting side by side is how much the larger iPad casing looks like the iPad mini’s. Take a look at the photo below, which places a current-generation iPad next to the iPad mini.

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As you can see, the iPad mini is much more narrow when held in the portrait orientation, thanks to its slimmer bezel. The larger iPad has a thicker bezel that surrounds every side of the screen, and is a bit wider in portrait as a result. If you look at the leaked iPad 5 backplate, you can see that the device looks more slim in portrait, as though it’s an iPad mini that was made about two inches larger. It’s a guess since we can’t see the front of the device, but it looks like the fifth-generation iPad might sport the same thin bezel as the iPad mini. Perhaps Apple is confident enough in its touch-detecting/canceling technology that it’s going to bring it to the larger iPad with Retina.

With Apple officially announcing the 128 GB iPad today, we probably won’t be seeing the fifth-generation tablet until later this year. But if these leaked images are accurate, it looks like the iPad might get its first design shakeup since the iPad 2 debuted back in 2011. It still leaves us wondering what Apple will do this spring and summer to fill the void. An iPad mini update? A new Apple TV? A budget iPhone? Looks like we’ll just have to wait and see.

Would you want the next-gen iPad to look more like the iPad mini, or do you like the thicker bezel? Let us know.

— Shawn Farner

Shawn Farner is a Harrisburg-based tech blogger who has been involved in online media for over seven years. He covers consumer electronics, Web-based services, and tech startups. Read disclosures here.