Jeremy Horwitz, Editor-in-Chief over at iLounge, claims to have gotten up close and personal with a rear shell from Apple’s next-generation iPad 3. Thanks to his hands-on, Horwitz can reveal that the new device will indeed be slightly thicker than its predecessor (though you won’t notice it), with a much-improved iPhone-like camera, minus the LED flash.
In addition to the rear shell, Horwitz also witnessed the device’s front glass bezel, according to his report:
The new iPad’s body is so slightly thicker than the iPad 2 that the change is unnoticeable on first inspection; a roughly 1mm increase will barely be perceptible to users. We’ve heard that the only accessories that might have issues are cases, and then, only cases that were precisely contoured to fit the iPad 2’s back. On the rear, the camera in the upper left corner has become bigger—noticeably so when placed alongside the iPad 2, but not so huge that anyone would think they were different at a distance. The new camera hole is silver-ringed, and does in fact look the same size as the iPhone 4S’s much-improved rear camera system, minus the LED flash.
Furthermore, Horwitz reports that all of the device’s external features, such as its home button, headphone jack, and dock connector; will remain identical to those on the iPad 2. While some accessory manufacturers are claiming the device will boast a slightly smaller screen, the front bezel seen by Horwitz seems to dismiss that.
Horwitz does note, however, that the rear shell he saw seems to have been produced at least six months ago, which means it may not be the a final design for the iPad 3.
Just before last year’s CES event, Horwitz got a hands-on with an early iPad 2 rear shell, which was almost identical to that which featured on the device’s final design when it launched months later.