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Size Comparison of iPad 4, iPad Mini, iPhone 5 and Upcoming iPad 5

With rumors of the fifth-generation iPad taking on a design similar to that of the iPad mini, we've once again commissioned CiccareseDesign to create some fresh renderings offering a very good idea of what the updated iPad will look like.

These images are based on the leaked iPad 5 enclosure, which we have reason to believe is indeed real.

The new iPad shell was shown alongside an iPad mini enclosure, providing CiccareseDesign a frame of reference from which to take measurements and produce these mockups. We believe the relative sizes shown in the following images offer an accurate view of how the upcoming iPad 5 will compare in size.

macrumors-ipad5aiPad 5 next to iPad mini

As has been described in rumors and calculated from the rear shell photos, the fifth-generation iPad appears to be notably smaller than the current model, adopting significantly thinner side bezels in portrait orientation and slightly smaller top and bottom bezels.

In fact, our extrapolated dimensions appear to be almost identical to a December claim from Macotakara, which specified that the fifth-generation iPad would be 4 mm shorter and 17 mm narrower than the existing design. That report also claimed that the next iPad will be 2 mm thinner than the current model, making it nearly identical in thickness to the iPad mini.

macrumors-ipad5biPad 5 on top of iPad 4

While some early rumors had suggested that Apple might be looking to update the iPad and iPad mini as soon as March, sources with rather reliable track records are now pointing to a later release in the September-October timeframe, and Apple's just-launched 128 GB iPad models support that notion.

macrumors-ipad5cLeft to Right: iPad 4, iPad 5, iPad mini

The fifth-generation iPad is said to adopt nearly identical styling to the iPad mini, with photos showing a similarly anodized rear shell and reports claiming that it will include the same chamfered edges as on its smaller sibling. The comparison photo above shows the smaller size of the iPad 5 and how it has taken on the design cues of the iPad mini.

macrumors-ipad5dLeft to Right: iPad 5, iPad mini, iPhone 5

The smaller body of the fifth-generation iPad suggests that Apple is making major changes to the device's internals as well. Apple has been rumored to be adopting new display technology that will allow for a thinner display and perhaps a smaller battery, and other components such as the main system-on-a-chip are also likely to see upgrades and rearrangements as part of the significant revamp of its full-size iPad.

Apple Releases Airport Utility 6.2 with Guest Wi-Fi and Printer Improvements [Mac Blog]

airport_utility_iconApple has released an updated version of its AirPort Utility wireless network manager, bringing it to version 6.2.

The update contains the usual improvements and bug fixes, but Apple mentions three specific changes:
- The ability to extend the Guest Wi-Fi network on a network that is configured with multiple AirPort Base Stations

- The ability to add a WPS-capable Wi-Fi printer

- Improved international support
The update weighs in at 20.64MB and is available through Apple's software update website.

Update: Apple has also released AirPort Base Station and Time Capsule Firmware Update 7.6.3 for updating the units themselves.

Finally, the AirPort Utility app for iOS has also been updated to add the new functionality.

Apple Issues Statement About Returning Cash to Shareholders

Apple has issued a press release reiterating its commitment to return some of its extremely large cash pile to shareholders, saying that Apple management and the Board of Directors are in "active discussions" about how to return cash to shareholders.

This follows letter sent to Apple shareholders this morning by Greenlight Capital [PDF], a major Apple shareholder, arguing that the company "must examine all of its options to unlock the growing value of its balance sheet".

Apple's statement:
By early last year, Apple's cash balance had built to a point beyond what we needed to run our business and maintain flexibility to take advantage of strategic opportunities, so we announced a plan to return $45 billion to shareholders over three years. As of next week we will have executed $10 billion of that plan.

We find ourselves in the fortunate position of continuing to generate large amounts of cash, including $23 billion in cash flow from operations in the last quarter alone.

Apple's management team and Board of Directors have been in active discussions about returning additional cash to shareholders. As part of our review, we will thoroughly evaluate Greenlight Capital's current proposal to issue some form of preferred stock. We welcome Greenlight's views and the views of all of our shareholders.
Apple's stock price rose sharply in the minutes following the release.