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Leaked photo of iPad 3 casing hints at upcoming changes

An image has surfaced of what may well be the inside rear shell of the iPad 3. While it may not sound like the most exciting news of the year, if the shell is genuine then it gives some clues as to how the next version of Apple’s tablet will compare with the current device.

For starters, according to MacRumors (via RepairLabs), the redesigned shell shows different mounts A for the iPad 3’s logic board, meaning the board could be narrower B. The space this leaves could be used for a larger battery, allowing you more time to swipe and surf before having to go through the recharging rigamarole. The battery on the current iPad allows around 10 hours of use before running flat.

The image also appears to indicate slightly different placement of the camera lens C, and therefore its components. Of course, from this small difference it’s impossible to say if the iPad’s camera capabilities will be radically overhauled, though it could suggest changes are on their way. Whereas the camera on the iPhone has seen steady improvements over its various iterations, the camera on the iPad 2 is still very basic and could do with an upgrade.

While the image doesn’t show the casing from the side, its source — “industry insiders” in China — says from what they’ve seen there’s no obvious difference in thickness between the iPad 2 and iPad 3.

Lastly, the LCD display mount D also appears to be different to before. Earlier rumors have suggested that the next-generation iPad could be getting Apple’s much-lauded Retina display, which offers more vibrant images with a higher resolution. Again, even if the image is genuine, it doesn’t confirm the introduction of a new kind of display, but certainly makes it seem more likely. A couple of weeks ago Bloomberg reported that the iPad 3 would incorporate a high-definition screen “with pixels small enough to make the images look like printed material.”

So how about the launch date of the new device? There was talk last month that the iPad 3 could be unveiled in March, which would fit pretty much with the release dates of the first two iterations of Apple’s tablet, though true to form, Apple has up to now given no hints as to when it might hit stores.