The iPad draws many of its features from the iPhone and iPod touch, and with its introduction in January of 2010, took on the iOS software, the capacitative touchscreen, and the famous 30 pin dock connector in portrait mode. Since then, the dock connector has been the focal point of numerous complaints, suggesting that the iPad is hard to use in landscape mode when the iPad is charging in portrait orientation. Rumors and even photos of iPad shells with dual dock connectors began to appear several months after the original iPad was introduced, and now there is tangible evidence to support that claim.
On Monday, a prototype of what appears to be a first generation iPad with dual dock connectors surfaced in an eBay listing. The iPad is a 16GB model with dock connectors in both landscape and portrait orientation, proving that Apple was indeed testing a number of iPad models with two dock connectors to make charging simpler when a user switches orientation.
The iPad being sold is close to being functional, aside from a number of minor issues such as the touch screen not being fully operational. Upon further inspection of all documentation for the iPad, it was confirmed that this could in fact, be a genuine Apple prototype. A number of pieces are labeled with Apple part numbers and as mentioned in the listing, comes with Apple’s Switchboard software.
Apple uses Switchboard to test all parts of the iPad, from checking the WiFi to ambient light sensors. As with many of Apple’s prototypes, the “iPad” name is not branded on the rear shell and is instead marked with an ID number and a series of X’s where the battery and FCC ratings would go. The eBay listing for the iPad started at $4,850 and was sold for $10,200. It is unclear exactly how the eBay seller acquired the prototype, or if Apple will attempt to confiscate the device, but it is up for sale and one person will own a prototype of a device that was assumed didn’t exist.