Considering it was described as either a quilted maple top
or even a carved maple top
(over mahognay) I presume the ARX500 had a proper maple top, perhaps not 3/4inch, but at least enough to allow the carve.
When Ibanez uses veneers they would specify those as such. I don't know what MIC has to do with it, there are plenty of MIC all maple/all flamed maple artcores. There are more maple trees in China than in Japan, you know
It's not in the 2010 catalogue though, so they're being discounted.
I've been researching various Les Paul copies lately. I've come away with a better appreciation for why real ones and the higher-end copies are so much more expensive.
What does MIC have to do with it? MIC = budget model.
Let me put it this way. Actual maple caps that are figured in some way, where the flame or quilt actually goes through the whole cap are rarer than you'd think. The deeper you dig, the more you find that most of the copies out there are veneer. You also find a pretty noticible price increase once you get an actual cap. An Edwards LP-130 (Edwards is a sub-brand of ESP) has an actual thick flamed maple cap. The models below that are all plain maple caps with flame veneer. The price difference is around $500. Same thing with Tokai, not all of those have an actual figured cap.
Epiphone Les Pauls, which are currently MIC, don't really even have a cap. Its actually a piece of alder, some combination of alder and maple, or worse yet, ply wood! Any flame top is a veneer. I have a '94 Epi. This one is MIK. This was actually my first guitar. I took out the neck pickup and looked for myself. The "cap" is some sort of wood, but it ain't maple and its pretty obvious the light flame top is a veneer.
None of these are advertised as having veneer, so unless Ibanez is just exceptionally honest or plays by different rules, "maple top" is pretty meaningless. So is "carved" because you can carve plywood. If someone actually cared to have an actual thick cap, unfortunately they'd have to do their research. The only reason I know these have veneer is because I've lurked on forums where people have posted pictures with the neck pickup removed showing the veneer.
That, and you can usually spot veneers pretty easily vs. an actual maple tops.