iLounge‘s Jeremy Horwitz is claiming to have had hands on time with prototype parts for the new iPad3 giving details on the new thicker body and updated rear camera.
His thoughts on the hardware are below, but he states that essentially the physical changes are very minor and that what he saw appeared to be ‘more than half a year old’.
The new iPad’s body is so slightly thicker than the iPad 2 that the change is unnoticeable on first inspection; a roughly 1mm increase will barely be perceptible to users. We’ve heard that the only accessories that might have issues are cases, and then, only cases that were precisely contoured to fit the iPad 2’s back. On the rear, the camera in the upper left corner has become bigger—noticeably so when placed alongside the iPad 2, but not so huge that anyone would think they were different at a distance. The new camera hole is silver-ringed, and does in fact look the same size as the iPhone 4S’s much-improved rear camera system, minus the LED flash.
From the front, the next iPad and iPad 2 appear to look basically the same—apart, of course, from the screen. That’s going to be Apple’s big focus when the new device is announced, but I didn’t see it. One company claimed to have heard the screen would be just a little smaller than the iPad 2’s, but if that’s the case, the front glass bezel I saw didn’t seem to suggest that. Switch, button, speaker, and other elements located on the side edges are all the same, as are the headphone and Dock Connector ports. In other words, last year’s accessories should generally work properly with the new model, which is great.
The iPad3 is expected to be launched around March if this year, with additional rumours speculating an additional release in October of an iPad4.