By Keerthi Chandrashekar / ( | First Posted: Jan 29, 2013 10:19 AM EST

The supposed back plate of the iPad 5 (left) compared to the back plate of the iPad mini (right) (Photo : 9to5Mac)

Apple is expected to release a flurry of iOS-based products this year, more than ever before, and one certainty is that a new iPad will be coming out. Apple, obviously, has not commented on the product just yet, but leaks have been giving us plenty of information to build an outline of what the next-gen iPad will look like - and it's increasingly pointing to an iPad mini-esque design.

The latest, and most visual indication of the iPad 5's design, comes courtesy of 9to5Mac, which has obtained a picture of what looks to be the iPad 5's back plate from a China-based iPad accessories manufacturer. 

The image shows the 9.7-inch iPad 5 back plate to be as thin as the iPad mini's, and the antennae cutout hints that this could be the LTE model. 9to5Mac does state that the image is unverifiable, so exercise a healthy amount of skepticism, but it does line up with previous reports that the iPad 5 will look a lot like a bigger iPad mini (talk about role reversal). 

What this means is a thinner, sleeker overall design, with the bezels becoming almost non existent. This will translate to a lighter iPad, something every mobile consumer welcomes. 

"According to my inside source, iPad(5th) may be released in March, 2013. Source told that, design of this new iPad will be like iPad mini in detail, and be thinner and lightweight. (The expectation comes to have a small 4mm in height, 17mm in width, depth 2mm)," Macotakara wrote in a report claiming to have information about the next-gen iPad. 

Some other reports do claim that the iPad 5 will release later in the year, around October, but most analysts are leaning towards a March-June release time frame. Apple is expected to release a new iPad mini in the first half of 2013 as well, and it would only make sense for the two look-alikes to debut together. 

What do you think of the iPad's redesign? Is it enough, or would you like a fresh overhaul? 

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