iPad Air 2 leaked images show slight redesign – Is this the real deal?

4 August 2014, 7:53 am EDT By Alexandra Burlacu Mobile & Apps

A new batch of leaked images has hit the web, purportedly showing the next-generation iPad Air with a couple of design tweaks.

When it comes to Apple-related news, the rumor mill has been mainly focusing on the upcoming iPhone 6. The smartphone has leaked extensively and has drawn virtually all of the attention, particularly because it's expected to come as a big change compared to its predecessor(s).

The iPad Air 2, meanwhile, should come more as a refresh rather than a major redesign. Nevertheless, the newly-leaked images do show slight changes in design compared to the original iPad Air.

Last year, Apple rebranded its full-size iPad as the iPad Air to highlight the tablet's great portability, as it was thinner and lighter than any previous iteration. The next-generation iPad Air 2 is rumored to be even thinner than the current model, boasting a slim profile of just 7.5 mm.

The new set of images surfaced on Weibo, as spotted by 9to5Mac. These new photos follow a leak back in June, when some shots of alleged physical mockups for the iPad Air 2 first hit the web. The new images mirror the same improved design, showing a new iPad Air with a slightly changed speaker grill, now in the form of a single row of holes. The volume controls also appear redesigned, now etched deeper into the tablet's frame, inside a recessed groove. Lastly, the iPad Air 2 also seems to have a second microphone now, located right beside the rear camera, to complement the usual one found beside the volume buttons. This new microphone is similar to the one found on the company's latest iPhones and iPods.

The newly-leaked images don't reveal much else regarding the next-generation iPad Air, as they only show the alleged rear shell of the slate, but they do bolster expectations that a new Apple tablet is en route. On the other hand, it's tough to tell whether these images are the real deal or not. If these photos turn out to be accurate, the iPad Air 2 will not be very different compared to the current model in terms of design, but it is expected to rock some neat upgrades.

First of all, the iPad Air 2 is expected to boast the company's Touch ID fingerprint scanner, introduced last year with the iPhone 5S. The new tablet is further rumored to pack a faster Apple A8 processor, and of course all of the goodies iOS 8 will bring to the table, including the long-overdue split-screen functionality.

It remains unclear for now just when the iPad Air 2 will make its debut, as some recent rumors indicated that it will see some delays, along with the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 and the iPad Mini 3. With nothing confirmed so far, however, take everything with a grain of salt.

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