updated 09:25 am EST, Mon February 13, 2012
iPad 3 display and shell caught together
A rare instance of investigation of leaked parts may have supported many of the rumors surrounding the iPad 3. Repair shop iLab Factory has combined both a rear shell and a new Sharp LCD and found that the display connector and screw holes for the back were meant to link up to Sharp's new screen. The same look also verified the deeper well for the rear camera and a different mount that wouldn't work with existing parts on the iPad 2.
iLab noted that the new shell was slightly thicker, consistent with rumors, but was more specific in noting that it was less than a 1mm difference and wasn't affecting the footprint.
Whether or not the parts were direct clues as to the finished product was still left open, although Apple is believed to already be in full production with final parts. The thicker design has commonly been associated with stronger backlighting needed to illuminate a 2048x1536 display, and possibly a higher-capacity battery to match.
Any proof could come quickly if talk of an early March event is true.