Somewhat unsurprisingly, photos of physical mockups (dummy units) purportedly representing the next-generation full-sized iPad Air have surfaced. This comes after several weeks of iPhone 6 dummy shots that solely differ by camera angles. These units are generally created by case makers, so they may have some inaccuracies. Nonetheless, here’s what whoever made these physical mockups is expecting based on whatever information they obtained from the Apple supply chain. As you can see in the image above, the next Air appears to be nearly identical in design to the current Air. More images below:
You can see that Touch ID is expected to make its way to the iPad, unsurprisingly. The feature has been rumored to be making its way from the iPhone 5s to Apple’s other iOS devices for some time now. The creator of these mockups has posted the images to various online sales websites and nowhereelse.fr obtained some images with less dramatic watermarking.
While the images do not show any new functionality, some of the pictures indicate a redesigned volume rocker control panel that is recessed into the iPad. It is unclear what benefit this offers. There also appears to be a new hole on the side of the device, but it’s purpose is unclear. It actually looks like the SIM-eject hole on the current iPads, but it does not appear connected to a SIM tray on this dummy unit. Another possibility is that it is a relocated or additional microphone for improved voice input.
The power switch also appears recessed on the top of the device and there is also now a microphone beside the rear camera lens like on the iPhone and iPod touch.
Above is another shot of the side profile with a larger angle of view.
Otherwise, the new Air is expected to look quite similar to the current model. Besides the tweaked design, we’re expecting the new device to sport a more advanced and efficient A8 system-on-a-chip, improved camera sensors, and the new iOS 8 software (and perhaps with a split-screen mode if that feature is ready by the fall). Besides the new Air, Apple has a new Retina iPad mini, two new iPhones, and an iWatch in the fall iOS device product pipeline.