Apple’s rumored October 16 event is approaching on the horizon, and so far we’ve heard relatively little about what might be unveiled. We have heard that updated iMacs are likely on the way, however, as well as a new iPad Air. The Air sequel is said to be thinner and lighter, according to existing rumors, and now Vietnamese blog Tinhte.vn (via 9to5Mac) is showing off pictures of what it claims is the next generation of the Apple tablet.
The new iPad Air manages to measure up at only 7mm thin according to Tinhte, which is half a millimeter thinner than the current generation, and right in between the iPhone 6 Plus and the iPhone 6. The new design inherits the recessed volume buttons of the new iPhones, according to this leak, which is new for Apple’s tablets, and it also gains a Touch ID sensor to the Home button.
Touch ID makes a lot of sense in the next generation of iPads, as Apple would likely have brought this advancement to its tablet line following its iPhone 5s exclusive launch last year regardless of any other developments. But there’s even more reason to build it into the tablet this time around: Apple is launching Apple Pay later this month, and making it available on iPads could be a big part of that launch.
Aside from this addition and the change in size, there aren’t really any other significant visual updates with this generation. The prototype obtained by the blog wasn’t operational, so they couldn’t confirm other earlier rumored features, including an anti-reflective screen, but the leaked photos do show the noteworthy absence of a mute/rotation lock switch, which means Apple could’ve done away with this feature in the interest of producing a thinner device, and relegated its features to software buttons instead.
This might not be the final design for whatever new iPad Apple is going to announce next week, but it looks in line with rumors we’ve been hearing, and Tinhte has a good track record: they leaked accurate images of the iPhone 4s, the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c before their official debuts.