Apple’s iPad Air lineup has been the exception to Apple’s policy of using bonded displays in its products.
Existing iPads don’t have bonded displays, meaning the cover glass and display are not glued together. This is in contrast to come of Apple’s products like the iPhone, which has had bonded displays since the iPhone 4.
There’s an advantage of chemically bonding the LCD with the cover glass. The biggest being that it allows the device to be thinner. iPad Air is already radically thinner than its predecessors, so if there’s any truth to these leaked images, the next generation tablet may take the “thinner than air” philosophy even further. The other major advantage of a bonded display is enhanced viewing angles which would no doubt be appreciated in the next generation tablet.
The purported front panel does look quite similar to the iPad Air which was smaller bezels and borrows design elements from the iPad mini. If this panel is indeed the real deal then Apple might not be making any major design changes in the upcoming tablet. A new connector configuration can also be seen which isn’t surprising since that will be required with a bonded display. Both the LCD and cover glass will be manufactured as a single unit and despite its various advantages it will make it a bit difficult to repair the next generation iPad Air.
If someone cracks the cover glass of their iPad they can simply swap it for a new one provided that the LCD has not been damaged. When both are a single unit then not only the LCD would be more susceptible to damage, but it would also be trickier and more expensive to repair the front panel. Nevertheless this is a very early rumor so nothing can be said for sure right now. Apple isn’t expected to unveil new iPads until fall 2014.