The WSJ seems to have confirmed what we were all expecting: the next iPad will essentially be a scaled-up iPad Mini.

The same touch-panel technology that made the iPad mini thin and light will likely feature in the next iPad, which is currently being produced by Apple Inc.’s Asian suppliers, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

We’d previously expected the iPad 5 to have the same thin bezel design as the Mini, and now the WSJ reports that it will also use the same film-based touch panel, replacing the glass touch panels used in current full-sized iPads. The switch from glass to film touch layer was one of the ways that Apple was able to reduce the thickness and weight of the iPad Mini, and demonstrated its ability to overcome the main drawback of film-based touch panels … 

The touch-sensitive layer sits on top of the glass display. Traditionally, glass touch panels were the high-end solution as film-based panels tended to block more of the light transmission, dimming the display. With the iPad Mini, Apple was able to demonstrate that a clear, bright display was possible through a film touch panel, opening the way to using the same technology in the full-sized iPad.


Image illustrating the construction of a film-based touch panel (

We previously posted images of what is claimed to be the backplate of an iPad 5, showing something which looks every inch a larger version of the iPad Mini design, with a black-and-slate coloring, thinner casing, chamfered edges, and a smaller overall footprint.


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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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