As a rumored October release date for Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) next-gen iPad, dubbed the iPad 5, nears, an array of photos showing what look like the rear shells of the new flagship tablet in “space gray” and silver colors appeared online on Tuesday, joining some other rumors that suggested Apple may also be developing a bigger 12-inch iPad.
The rear-shell photos were leaked by Sonny Dickson, an Australian blogger, who claimed that the components belonged to the iPad 5, Apple’s fifth-generation iPad iteration, which is expected to be launched alongside the iPad mini 2 with retina display in October.
The space gray color option was first introduced by Apple at the iPhone 5s unveiling on Sept. 10 to replace the slate black color used on the iPhone 5, and the iPod touch, nano and shuffle products. The new iPad 5 rear shell photos emerge nearly a week after a purported iPad mini 2 rear shell was leaked online in the same space gray color variant.
According to earlier reports, the upcoming iPad 5 is expected to feature the same 9.7-inch screen with a resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels. The device is also likely to be lighter and thinner like the iPad mini, incorporating touch sensors with a thin film instead of glass, used in existing iPads.
Meanwhile, Japanese website Macotakara cited a Chinese publication called United Daily News on Tuesday, to report that Apple is working with Quanta Computer, a Taiwan-based manufacturer, to develop a 12-inch version of the iPad.
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The Taiwanese company had produced previous Apple products, such as notebooks, the video iPod in 2006 and the latest MacBook Air models.
Tuesday’s report said that Quanta wants to diversify away from thin-and-light laptop production because tablets, such as the iPad, are increasingly cannibalizing that market segment.
According to some analysts, the increasing popularity of tablets among consumers could also negatively impact Apple's MacBook sales, which may force the company to consider a wider range of iPad offerings, Apple Insider reported.
Speculation over a bigger iPad is nothing new. South Korean site ETNews reported in May that Apple could introduce a 12.9-inch iPad in early 2014, which could be named the “iPad Max.” In July, the Wall Street Journal also reported that Apple has recently asked its suppliers for screen designs, measuring slightly less than 13 inches, for a new iPad model.