Apple's next generation iPad hardware likely won't appear before late March or early April, but production will probably begin early next year. This has resulted in a spate of rumored leaks about the device as Chinese suppliers ostensibly have early details about different parts of the device. An anonymous source from China has said that the next-gen iPad will have a smaller, slimmer, flatter case while incorporating rear-facing, improved speakers.
According to the Japanese Kanteidan Blog, an anonymous Chinese source revealed that the new case shaves 3mm from the length and width, resulting in a slightly smaller bezel. However, the 9.7" LCD display will reportedly remain the same. The casing is also said to be flat on the back, "like the iPod touch," though the iPod touch isn't exactly flat. However, a flattened back would make the iPad easier to use when placed on a table or other flat surface.
Previous rumors suggested that a revised iPad would include a USB port, or possibly an SD card slot. However, Kanteidan's source says the opening on the rear of the case suspected to be a USB port is actually a new position for improved, wider-dynamic range speakers.
The report also mentions that the updated iPad will be equipped with a front-facing FaceTime camera, as well as a rear-facing camera that is "the same quality as iPhone 4" and capable of shooting video. We're not convinced, though Apple could always surprise us with imaging hardware on par with the iPhone 4.
Source: ars technica