Yet again, third-party accessory makers have revealed an upcoming iPad design. Alibaba.com is awash in cases for a redesigned iPad. Nearly every case is for a device that has a thinner bezel and slimmer profile. In short, the next iPad will look like the iPad mini — except, you know, just not mini.
This is the standard story line for Apple devices. Months before a major product is released, accessory makers start pumping and dumping cases. Most of the time these cases are rebadged and sold under a brand name. This process takes time, which is why the cases are available prior to the device launching.
This has happened for nearly every iDevice launch since the iPhone 4. Every iPad — full size or mini — was revealed prior to Apple’s announcement through case makers. And a good chunk of case makers display their wares on Alibaba.com.
Apple is part of this cycle, too. A vast accessory ecosystem is part of the iOS magic. A buyer knows that they can purchase the latest iPhone or iPad and customize it to their fitting without any fuss. Even dime stores sell iPhone cases. It’s oft been circulated that Apple releases the dimensions of upcoming devices to accessory makers months before the announcement so the device launches to a full assortment of items.
These factories have likely not seen the next iPad yet. Most of the images are physical mockups or renderings. But they know the device’s dimensions.
So again, act surprised when Apple reveals the next iPad in the coming months. Pretend like you hadn’t seen it before.