First look at iPad 5? At least the back of it, that is

It's not much at all, but a look at what could be the back of the next iPad is creating a lot of buzz among Apple fans.

Apple news website 9 to 5 Mac posted images of a black iPad back plate that looks a lot like the iPad mini but is the size of the larger iPad.

To most people, this won't mean much, but to legions of Apple fans it may be the first sign that the iPad will undergo its first major redesign since it came out in 2011.

According to the report, the image was provided by a "purported China-based iPad accessory maker" that said the part belonged to a fifth-generation iPad prototype.

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Although 9 to 5 Mac said it couldn't confirm if the part was actually for an upcoming iPad, the images were enough to cause dozens of news sites to write about it and speculate on what it could mean for Apple and its fans.

If the part is authentic, it suggests that the next iPad might be as thin as the iPad mini.

We'll have to wait and see if Apple releases a full-size iPad with that type of slim design, but in the meantime, the Cupertino, Calif., company has confirmed Tuesday it will be rolling out a 128 GB version of its current fourth-generation iPad.

That model goes on sale Feb. 5 for $799 for the Wi-Fi version and $929 for the cellular-connected model.


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