Images of Prototype Show Apple Planned iPad With Two Ports
Apple prototyped models of the first-generation iPad with two ports for expanded docking options, according to images of a prototype unit.
Shared on Twitter by Apple device collector Giulio Zompetti, the images reinforce previous reports that Apple was planning to offer two 30-pin connector ports on the original iPad, with one on the base below the Home Button, and one on the left-hand side.
Zompetti explained that Apple was initially planning to offer a "dual dock system" on its first tablet. Presumably, this would have functioned in much the same way that the smart connector did on the first and second-generation iPad Pros, third-generation iPad Air, and seventh and eighth-generation iPad, in order to be able to connect to the Smart Keyboard or accessories such as Logitech's Logi BASE iPad charging dock in landscape mode. The two-port system apparently also supported concurrent charging.
Beyond docking in accessories such as keyboards, two ports could also have opened up the option for connecting to multiple wired accessories such as external hard drives or SD card readers via a dongle for compatibility with the 30-pin connector, without the need for a multi-port adapter.
Prototype first-generation iPads with two ports have been seen a number of times before, with some images even showing the internals of a two-port iPad. Patents depicting the dual-port design have also come to light in the past.
Apple reportedly chose to remove the feature in the design verification testing stage. While Apple has launched 22 different iPad models in six screen sizes, every iPad model to date has only had just one port for data transfer and charging.
Given that some iPad power-users hope that the tablet will one day feature more than one port to aid productivity, it is interesting that Apple considered implementing such a feature long before the creation of the iPad Pro or even the switch to a USB-C connector on some models. Some may believe that the images prove that Apple saw the iPad as a productivity-oriented device long before it was truly capable of doing so with features such as multitasking, the Files app, or mouse support.