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Purported 'iPad 3' front panels show identically placed home button and camera

Further disputing continued speculation that Apple could do away with the home button on its next-generation iPad, a new picture claiming to show glass panels for black and white third-generation iPad models show the home button and front-facing camera located in positions identical to the iPad 2.

The pictures of the so-called "iPad 3" digitizer and front glass panel were posted on Thursday by The black and white front panels appear to be the same part, complete with redesigned ribbon cable, that surfaced out of the Far East last week.

The front panel once again suggests that Apple's third-generation iPad will look largely identical to the iPad 2, with a home button at the bottom of the device and a hole for a forward-facing camera at the top.

The leaked component should also help to dispel speculation that Apple could do away with the home button entirely on its next iPad. That idea cropped up again this week after Apple sent out invitations for a media event next week that showed an iPad Calendar application icon being touched at the bottom of the screen without a home button.

But since the iPad home screen can be operated in any orientation, it's more likely that the pictured iPad included on the invitation is simply an iPad being used in landscape mode, explaining why there is no home button to be seen.

That the parts shown on Thursday are available in both black and white also suggests that Apple will offer the same two color options it had provided customers with since last year's iPad 2 launch.

iPad 3 2

While the front panel of the next iPad is expected to look largely identical to the current iPad 2, the new device could be slightly thicker than its predecessor. One measurement of a purported "iPad 3" rear panel publicized earlier this week found that it is 0.81 millimeters thicker than the same part on the iPad 2.