Apple's original iPad nearly looked very different

In some ways, the iPad's design hasn't changed a huge amount over the last decade. Sure, bezels have shrunk and accessories like the Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard have turned the tablet into a bonafide computing device – but it's still just a slab of glass with a port at the bottom, right? Well, it seems the original nearly looked very different. 

New images (below) shared on Twitter this week are said to show an early prototype of the first-generation iPad, featuring a second charging port on the side of the device. It might be one of the best drawing tablets around, but even the latest iPad Pro only features one lonely port (unless, of course, you throw a Magic Keyboard into the mix). 

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Twitter user Giulio Zompetti, a collector of rare Apple devices (we wonder if he's placed a bid on that $1.5M Apple I auction yet), shared three images, and claimed that Apple was originally planning a dual dock system for the iPad. Zompetti claims the feature was canned during a "later DVT (design validation test) stage", suggesting the second port's removal was fairly last-minute.

So why two charging ports? The most obvious explanation seems to be that it would allow the iPad to be used while docked in landscape mode. Back in 2010, Apple released a rather cumbersome keyboard dock for the for the first generation iPad (below) – so perhaps the company was once planning to make it work horizontally, instead of being restricted to the hilariously cumbersome-looking vertical mode.

Apple iPad keyboard dock

Not exactly Apple's most elegant design solution (Image credit: Apple)

Of course, with magnets here and Smart Connectors there, the current iPad line up offers a lot more flexibility when it comes to charging and using accessories (check out these awesome Apple Pencil deals in Amazon's Spring Sale). But that wasn't always the case, and a second charging port could have proven pretty useful for early iPad converts keen to type anything longer than a tweet.

While we're often hearing about possible additions to the iPad model list, such as these tantalising 2021 iPad Pro display rumours, sometimes it's fun to focus on what nearly was – instead of what might be. For more weird and wonderful ideas that Apple hasn't quite pulled off, check out these 8 game-changing Apple patents that we wish would come true.

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.