New iPad docking mode on the horizon?

A European trademark application reveals drawings of an Apple iPad with a new horizontal docking option.

A trademark application shows an iPad with a landscape-orientation docking option. Is a new design on the horizon?
A trademark application shows an iPad with a landscape-orientation docking option. Is a new design on the horizon? Patently Apple

A subtle but important change could be in store for the iPad.

Though the touch-screen tablet can be used in both portrait (vertical) or landscape (horizontal) mode, it can only be placed in its charging dock in portrait mode. There's just one 30-pin connector on the bottom of the short side of the rectangular iPad.

But according to documents Apple filed with the Trade Marks and Designs Registration Office of the European Union earlier this year and made public last week, a horizontal docking option may be on its way. The blog Patently Apple found the documents submitted by Apple that include drawings of an iPad with dock connectors on two sides, to allow horizontal and vertical docking orientation. The design is credited to, among others, CEO Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive, Apple's industrial design chief.

It's a subtle addition, but one that would be welcomed by users who want another way to take advantage of some of the productivity apps on the iPad. Using the iPad docked in horizontal mode with the physical keyboard accessory would simulate the wide-screen experience of working on a laptop, as well as allow users to view and access additional settings menus that only appear when the device is tipped sideways, which can be found in the company's Pages, Numbers, and Keynote apps.

It's not clear when the new design would be introduced. Perhaps when iPad version 2.0 is expected to be introduced sometime early next year?

About the author

Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur.

 

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