Chinese manufacturer gambles on iPad 2S cases

While we've been referring to Apple's next generation iPad as iPad 3, according to 9to5Mac Chinese accessory maker Chinee has gone and gambled on iPad 2S -- not only the name, but the form factor as well, producing what might just be the first case for the unannounced, unspecified tablet.

Case producer “Chinee” of China has begun selling cases for a device that it called “iPad 2S.” The name obviously stems from the name iPhone 4S, where the S notes an internal technical specification update rather than a re-design. Based on previous “iPad 3″ rumors, the new tablet will follow that naming convention. The new iPad is rumored to look identical to the iPad 2, but it will be slightly thicker. The seller of these “iPad 2S” cases said its new products fit a design that is 1MM thicker than the iPad 2′s form-factor. The case maker also claimed such design knowledge came from sources within Apple’s supply chain.

Having your accessory ready to go on launch day can make for much higher profits, but if they end up banking on the wrong form-factor -- something that happened with iPhone 5 cases last year -- it can cost them a bundle.

Even betting on a name on the packaging -- iPad 2S in the case -- can be a risk. With a 2048x1536 resolution Retina display boost, would Apple really call their 3rd generation iPad an iPad 2S? The "S" is usually used to reduce expectations and push-back when new devices don't look as significantly updated as their internals suggest, like the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4S. Could anything leaping to a Retina display not feel like a significant update?