iPad 3 Front Panel Images Leaked?

IT Management

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You might have expected that once Apple started sending out invites to next week’s iPad 3 launch event, the rumor mill might have entered a “wait and see” mode. Looks like you’d be wrong. Like kids who shake the presents under the tree right up until bedtime on Christmas Eve, Apple watchers are still trying to figure out what we’ll be seeing in just a few short days.

The first round of post-invite speculation came on the very day Apple sent out the invitations. Cult of Mac noticed that the invitation itself appears to show an iPad without a home button. Of course, there have been rumors for years that Apple would follow Android’s lead and get rid of a physical home button on its iOS devices. The event invitation seems to suggest that they’re doing exactly that. (As a side note, the display on the invitation certainly looks like a retina display; at any rate, it’s a good deal sharper than the display on the iPad 2.) Take a look at the invitation again for yourself and see what you think:

iPad 3 Event Invitation

So, could it be true? Is Apple really, at long last, doing away with a physical home button? Maybe not. In a blog post this morning RepairLabs posted an image of a pair of iPad 3 front panels. The panels consist of the tablet’s digitizer (which the touchscreen functionality), and the glass panel that goes over the iPad’s display. If the panels are genuine, then it looks like the reports of the home button’s death have been greatly exaggerated. The panels clearly show a home button and the centered front-facing camera just like those on the iPad 2. The image also confirms that the iPad 3, like the iPad 2, will be available in both black and white at launch.

iPad 3 Digitizer

So it looks like all those who were celebrating the demise of the home button are probably going to be disappointed after all. We’ll know for sure next Wednesday when Apple officially unveils the device. In the meantime, check out our iPad 3 page for more information on what to expect from Apple’s next tablet.

Are you happy the home button is sticking around, or should Apple have gotten rid of it? Let us know what you think in the comments.