Some may consider the iPad to be the true forebear of modern tablets but, when it launched, it was pretty much a gigantic iPhone. That was true not just in the software experience but in how the tablet was meant to be used, that is in portrait orientation. Many tablets today, especially the larger ones like the iPad Pros, are designed around a horizontal or landscape position, and, once upon a time, the first-ever iPad almost had a feature that would have inclined it in that direction as well.
The large screen of the iPad made it perfect for certain types of content, like videos, magazines, and more comfortable browsing of the Web. Even back in its first incarnation, however, there were users that wanted to expand its use to things like content creation or more advanced uses that weren’t possible on the iPhone’s tiny size. That, however, would have necessitated something like a dock accessory, and the placement of the OG iPad’s lone connector made for an awkward position.
That wasn’t initially the case, however. Prototypes of the first iPads showed that, at one point, Apple itself considered supporting both orientations. That meant the iPad would have had two 30-pin connectors, one at the bottom, which remained in the final design, and one on the left side of the device.
According to rare Apple devices collector Giulio Zompetti, this prototype didn’t survive the last Design Validation Test stage of development. There was no reason given but perhaps having the iPad support concurrent charging from both ports would have complicated the tablet’s hardware significantly.
iPad, first generation prototype.
Initially, Apple was planning to feature a dual dock system on its first tablet.
The secondary port was situated on the left side of the device.
Concurrent charging was apparently supported.
This feature was removed in a later DVT stage. pic.twitter.com/7yJHsXPoYL
— Giulio Zompetti (@1nsane_dev) March 27, 2021
It would have probably been a very different tablet world had the iPad launched with a second dock connector from the start. Of course, these days that has been made moot by the modern generation of tablets, some of which aim to replace laptops that are always used in landscape orientation.