While most case makers missed the mark last year by producing “iPhone 5” cases for a thinner, taller, wider, and “teardrop” form-factor, these manufactures have historically provided accurate insight into Apple’s future hardware product plans. We have seen purported Apple case leaks almost yearly and 2012 is no exception. Case makers have begun to produce and ship cases for the upcoming third-generation Apple iPad.¬†Read below for additional details and more images:

Case producer “Chinee” of China has begun selling cases for a device that it called “iPad 2S.” The name obviously stems from the name iPhone 4S, where the S notes an internal technical specification update rather than a re-design. Based on previous “iPad 3” rumors, the new tablet will follow that naming convention. The new iPad is rumored to look identical to the iPad 2,¬†but it will be slightly thicker. The seller of these “iPad 2S” cases said its new products fit a design that is 1MM thicker than the iPad 2’s form-factor. The case maker also claimed such design knowledge came from sources within Apple’s supply chain.

Apple iPad 2S/3 cases on sale now are notable because it means internal production schematics for the new iPad are floating around. Furthermore, it likely legitimizes reports that claimed Apple just kicked off iPad 3 production in the month of January. Besides the tweaked design, the new iPad is rumored to include a quad-core processor, Retina Display, Siri Dictation support, and LTE network capabilities.

The new iPad is also rumored to contain an improved camera system with a FaceTime HD camera on the front and improved lens on the back. The cases shown above appear to have camera holes for a slightly bigger lens. As with the false “iPhone 5” cases, these “iPad 2S” cases may also be false. However, with aligning information previously reported by typically reliable sources, they are likely legitimate.

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