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While Apple's next-generation full-sized iPad isn't expected to see a major redesign this year, a new set of dummy models claiming to show the look of 2014 iPad Air feature tweaked volume buttons with a new, recessed design, along with a Touch ID enabled home button.
The nonfunctioning dummy model shows an indented space for two elongated volume buttons, representing a change from the current iPad Air where the buttons protrude. The mockup was first spotlighted on Tuesday by Nowhereelse.fr.
Strangely, the dummy device also lacks a mute/orientation lock switch above the volume buttons, and instead has just a small circular hole. To date, all iPad models have featured a toggle switch above the volume controls, just like every iPhone.
Of course, it's possible that the mockup is a fabrication, or represents a design that Apple tested but ultimately decided not to use. An updated iPad Air is expected to arrive this fall, about one year after the launch of the 2013 model.
The mockup of a white iPad also shows the same design of a blank home button with silver ring around it found on the white iPhone 5s with Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Apple is widely expected to bring Touch ID to its iPad lineup later this year, allowing for secure access to its tablets and also potentially opening the door for quick multi-user support or other advanced functions.
A pair of other minor changes are also portrayed in the mockup. The alleged design has a tiny circular microphone hole next to the camera hole, which would be a change from the elongated microphone hole that is centered atop the current iPad Air.
And finally, on the bottom of the mockup device, the stereo speaker grille located to the left and right of the Lightning connector space features a single row of circles. The current iPad Air features two rows of smaller circles for its speaker grille.