The next iPad will indeed sport two dock connectors - one on the short side of the device, the other on the long edge - if recently published application for European design protection is anything to go by. The design was registered with the European Union trademarks registrar on 14 July this year, but only published late last …
It seems to me that any 'dock connector' should be eradicated from a device like this - it's clearly not needed and just messes up the lines of the device.
You should be able to put it on a dock/stand/table in any orientation and have it:
1: charge the battery inductively. I know, not 100% efficient, but when's that stopped anyone?
2: communicate (music/data/etc) over a very short range (2cm?), low power RF link.
If that's not acceptable, modify the 'magsafe' connector to include a data pair and use that - it's contact technology, but would be better than a conventional plug/socket arrangement.
The tech is there and perfectly achievable. Just waiting for a mass market company to implement it. I'm surprised apple haven't done so already!
+1 - thinking most of this myself.
Point 1. Apple might need to ditch the metal case for this to work right, I suspect.
Point 2: Easiest way would be via bluetooth, and not just for ipads - for Apple's entire mobile portfolio. itunes over BT - so much easier! BT3 should give descent bandwidth too.
You'll always need a hardware socket though, for things like bios updates, full hardware resets, vendor diagnostics etc. But at least you could provide a cover for it.
Is this article suggesting that Apple can patent the concept of putting two dock connectors on a product? Surely there is no innovation here to patent!?
I *think* it's some kind of trademark design?
But, either way, if I were a rival I'd register every other combination of docks I could think of.
I suppose this just means other companies will either have to innovate around using one dock (or do without it as commented) or use three docks in some configuration.
Re: I *think* it's some kind of trademark design?
Three docks? Aaargh!
How soon before someone does for, followed by the inevitable "fuck 'em - we're going to five blades, er, docks".
Gilette vs Wilkinson Sword all over again.
"Unless, of course, Apple is registering the design simply to prevent ..."
But wouldn't that be *gasp* patent trolling!!!
Possible use in tablet-cum-laptop device?
With 2 dock connectors, you could conceivably have a keyboard accessory that would allow the pad to be converted into a clamshell-form laptop-type device with more conventional orientation for laptop/desktop type activities.
Or could even be for more flexible desktop-type device usage.
Or maybe as a dockable portable video display.....
Or.....maybe so you can plu your ipod into it so that you can sync your tunes to your iPad without all that messing about with Windows/MacOS/etc!
Keyboard clamshell thing
Like the HP/Compaq tablets?
My TC1100 doesn't botrher with any of this doubledock stuff.
It has a docking port on its back, and then the docking station can rotate!
Hope they patented that, otherwise Apple'll do their retrospective bitching thing again
Who gives a toss?
Last week a whole article about rumours that the iPhone (or something) might be available in white, and now the hot news that they might be putting a connector in a slightly different position. These are not technological developments and this is not tech news - just the tech equivalent of celebrity tittle tattle.
I thought el reg was sceptical of the fanbois but it seems you're worse than most.
Not a patent
There's a difference between Designs and Patents. This does not stop anyone from putting whatever connectors on their devices.
Just the MicroSIM slot
It's just the microsim slot, copy and pasted (and positioned wrong) from the charger port by a lazy designer!
re: "Unless, of course, Apple is registering the design simply to prevent ..."
How does that qualify as non-obvious?
There are already screens which can be used in portrait or landscape mode, I strongly suspect that they do indeed have data-input ports.
Bah, bad EU!
Sounds possibly like it could be used for the keyboard dock to allow use of the iPad with the dock in landscape mode.
The current designs of the dock and iPad only allows the iPad to be used in portrait mode, which is somewhat uncomfortable to use for prolonged periods of time. Being able to use the iPad with a keyboard dock in landscape mode would make it easier. Currently, the only way to use a keyboard with an iPad in landscape at the moment is to jack in either the camera kit (good luck finding one!) and then a USB keyboard to it, or use bluetooth. Either one is a compromise as if you use the keyboard for bluetooth, you can't use a bluetooth headset. And if you use the camera kit and USB keyboard, you can't charge the thing or get video out to a TV at the same time. The only logical solution is two connectors - one for keyboard/charging, and another for TV out. Likewise the same two ports will allow one to plug the iPad into the existing dock in either portrait or landscape mode, or even facilitate the use of a case with a built-in keyboard which uses the dock on the long side while leaving the dock on the short side free for charging and/or TV out.
I'm surprised no-one's commented on what appears to be a camera lens in the bezel on the left-hand edge (top of the device when held in portrait).