It is the middle of March and we still have not heard any rumors of a special event held by Apple. No tech writers have received vague invitations to the California Theater. Frankly, I’m getting antsy. Just when I was starting to think that Apple didn’t have any plans to launch a newly designed fifth-generation iPad, Patently Apple made my day by discovering an unassuming patent for an iPad that looks completely different than the current model.
The US Patent & Trademark Office recently published an application from Apple that shows minor changes to alignment of components and relates to the display and cover glass. However, upon closer inspection, Patently Apple discovered that the iPad design referenced in this patent is boxier in order to make room for a new speaker configuration.
Based on the patent’s images, the mysterious design includes a speaker on the backside, as well as a full edge speaker, a new centered position for the camera lens, and a heat release panel, also on the backside. Patently Apple points out that, because iPad tablets are regularly getting faster and hotter processor chips, it makes sense that heat release panels would be added to the design. Although, it seems very odd to put them on the backside where tablet covers and laps will likely obstruct them.
The reason iPad engineers decided to use this particular design in order to apply for a patent for component alignment is a mystery. However, it is clear that Apple has design plans for changing the position of a couple of key iPad features. This may not be representative of a fifth-generation iPad, but it is possible that it will show up in the future.