After alleged images of the front panel of the iPhone 6 leaked recently, new images have surfaced of what is purported to be the iPad Air 2’s front glass. Dutch site One More Thing (via Macrumors) shared the images, which show an integrated display for an iPad. Previous iPad builds have stayed away from integrated displays as they were known to increase costs and make repairs more difficult. However, the integration could reduce the thickness of the iPad, which would allow Apple to create an even thinner iPad Air.

ipad_air_2_panel_back The back of the possible iPad screen shows possible integration. Photo: Courtesy One More Thing

Recently, Samsung attacked the iPad Air in a commercial, poking fun at both the iPad and Apple’s famous pencil ad campaign. Samsung’s commercial uses the behind-the-pencil approach to show the iPad Air’s thin body, but it goes one step further and asks, what’s behind the iPad Air? “The even thinner Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1,” the voice-over says.

Apple may have taken that attack seriously. If the integrated display shown in these supposedly leaked images is accurate, it shows that Apple is focusing on competing with Samsung on this point. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since the two are locked in a court battle over patents that's raged since 2010. Apple claims Samsung ripped off the iPhone’s look when it was designing the Samsung Galaxy S-series. Apple most recently claimed that any smartphone with a slide-to-lock feature is infringing on its patent.

Rumors suggest the second-generation iPad Air, or iPad Air 2, will be released in the third quarter of this year. Noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities recently said the iPad Air and the Retina iPad Mini will get updates later this year, but earlier than expected. The current generation of iPads was announced in October and released on Nov. 1. However, Kuo believes that the iPad refresh will happen before
Apple releases the iPhone 6, which will likely occur in September. Kuo also speculated that Apple will most likely announce and release its first wearable the iWatch around the same time.

While the images of the prospective iPad screen may indicate Apple’s hardware design intentions, it does not give any clues as to how Apple plans to improve the capabilities of the device. Rumors have circulated suggesting that the next generation of iPads will include the Touch ID fingerprint sensor that is standard on the iPhone 5s. Other rumors claim the iPad line will use the A8 processor and might have an optical stabilized camera. 

Here’s the original iPad Air commercial: