Apple’s next iPad will likely resemble the iPad mini, and lose some weight and possible some girth thanks to the same touch-panel tech that made the mini so… well, so mini. The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple’s next iPad, which is currently in production with Apple’s supply partners, will use a film-based (vs. a glass-based) touch panel to save on thickness and weight.
It’s not something that should come as much of a surprise: early case design leaks (pictured above) suggested that the next 9.7-inch iPad would inherit the exterior styling of the iPad mini, and possibly go in for not only a thinner case but a thinner bezel and smaller physical footprint as well.
The fourth-generation iPad, and the third-generation device before it, are actually heavier and thicker than the iPad 2, something made necessary by the introduction of the Retina display in those later devices. Shaving weight and size isn’t only logical because of the iPad mini’s example, it’s also something that could help Apple considerably in terms of providing an upgrade incentive to existing iPad owners.
In all likelihood, a new iPad would occupy the same price point as the fourth generation device, which was introduced in October last year with a surprise refresh that improved the processor and added a lightning connector. Judging by recent reports, we could see the next iPad as early as September, and it might have a longer-lasting battery to go with its new design.