A user on the Chinese microblogging service Weibo has posted a photo that appears to depict a backplate of an obscenely large form-factor iPad.
The Weibo post was first spotted by French blog NowhereElse.fr [Google translate].
Unfortunately, the image does not show much more than an increased physical size (implying a larger display), as shown by the relative size of the Apple logo and camera hole. A cutout for the rear camera can be seen in the top-left corner, as is standard with current iPads. We should note that this would be very easily faked, so the validity of the picture is very much up in the air.
And even if the part is genuine, there are no guarantees that the iPad Pro will be hit the market just yet because Apple tends to test several designs before deciding on a final form factor.
Rumours of an iPad Pro have been swirling for a while, although the news has died down in recent months. Most notably, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was testing iPads with significantly larger screens in July 2013. However, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reiterated that the 12.9 inch iPad was still in the pipeline, as part of KGI Research’s predictions for the rest of the year. Kuo said the big iPad is unlikely to come out in 2014, however.
The concept of an iPad Pro still seems comical to think about, but this latest image from Weibo only adds fuel to the fire that it might actually be a real thing. 9to5Mac has previously reported that Apple is working on a two-apps-at-one-time mode for the iPad, which would synergize well with a larger-screened iPad device.
Therefore, an iPad Pro does remain a viable possibility.
Source: 9to5mac and some others.