Original iPad almost included landscape and portrait charging ports

Original iPad almost included landscape and portrait charging ports


An iPad prototype shows that the awkward iPad Keyboard Dock could have been much better.
The original iPad had a single port, so Apple’s iPad Keyboard Dock had to be used with the tablet in portrait mode.
Photo: Apple

Apple tablets almost came with dual docking ports from the very beginning. New images of an early prototype iPad show it sports a charging/data port on its bottom edge and a second one on its left edge.

The final version released in 2010 only packed a single port, but this prototype shows how the initial Apple tablets could have gone in a different direction. Which is an interesting tidbit with the anniversary of the first model coming up.

A dual-port iPad prototype

The images were posted by Giulio Zompetti on Twitter.

He claims they show a first generation prototype with a dual dock system. “This feature was removed in a later DVT stage,” says Zompetti.

This was possibly one of several Engineering Validation Test units intended to allow designers to test various configurations for Apple’s initial tablet. But it didn’t make the cut to become a Design Validation Test unit.

This first iPad used Apple’s old 30-pin connector. This was later replaced by Lighting, and then by USB-C in some versions.

What’s old is new again

For years, all iPad models had a single charging/data port. This limited the sorts of accessories that could plug into the tablet. It took until the iPad Pro released in 2015 for a second port to be added. This is the Smart Connector, and is primarily intended for add-on keyboards.

The iPad prototype shows engineers were on the right track back before the very first iPad was released. It just took Apple a few more years to realize it.