What the iPad Air 2 and the Mini 3 on release date this 2014 appears gradually shaping up and the latest indicator is the fresh bunch of alleged prototype images that new reports said are currently circulating in Chinese and Japanese online forums.
The pictures first published by NowhereElse.fr supposedly showed off the 2014 iPad Air build though it is assumed that everything about the upcoming device - old and new features - will get replicated with its smaller sibling or the iPad Mini 3.
Minor body redesigns
The iPad Air 2 pics, according to Phone Arena, essentially point to the design language that was employed with the device seen last year - slimmed down profile, thin bezels surrounding the 9.7-inch screen and a cut that emits of sleek appeal and paperweight footprint.
There are a number of revisions, however, if the dummy representations are to be believed. The volume rocker is now in a recessed mode, which deviates from the protruding controllers that were seen in previous models.
Then the Mute/Orientation switch that was above the volume keys in the past was nowhere to be found in the render. Apple Insider noted that this will be the first time that controller is reconfigured, if indeed the adjustment will be sustained by the time the Air 2 is out later in the year.
Also, a tiny hole can be seen on the right side of the rear camera lens, which is assumed as the device microphone. The speaker remains in stereo but instead of a double row of rounded holes at the bottom portion, the Air 2 will sport the same circular holes in two singular rows that flank the Lightning port.
The pictures suggested too that Touch ID will come on board with the two refreshed iPads, which is consistent with the earlier assertion made by Ming-chi Kuo of KGI Securities - that the iPhone 5S biometric security feature will be an across-the-board implementation with this year's iPhone and iPad editions.
One expected enhancement that is packed with the 2014 Touch ID rendition is its wider integration with mobile device payment, allowing third parties like PayPal to take advantage of the Apple technology and its iOS-embedded security protocols.
Another killer feature that is believed geared for the upcoming line up of iOS devices this year is Split Screen, the code of which was reportedly detected by some developers in the first beta version of the recently unveiled iOS 8.
However, there are numerous reports that indicate two-apps viewing, which is already offered on Android and Windows devices, will not come out of the box with any of the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3. Rather, the feature will have to wait until the first major iOS 8 update that likely will happen in the first quarter of 2015.
It is almost certain though that the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 release date (a simultaneous event) will come earlier than their predecessors last year, which Kuo said will be between October and November 2014.