The iPad has come a long way since its inception—from a simple tablet to an arguable productivity machine. But photos of a first gen iPad prototype show that Apple always had its sights on productivity, because the iPad originally had two 30-pin ports.
There’s one on the bottom, where you’d expect, but there was also a second one on the left-hand side. The images, shared by rare Apple device collector Guilio Zompetti on Twitter, show the device in detail.
— Giulio Zompetti (@1nsane_dev) March 27, 2021
It sounds like the original plan was pretty rad. The ports would’ve support concurrent charging, which means you could’ve used one to charge and the other for accessors (like hard drives or whatever). This was long before the hardware support the iPad has now, so it’s clear that Apple had big plans for this little gadget from day one.
Unfortunately, this never came to fruition. The left port was removed during design verification testing for unknown reasons. Perhaps, the software just wasn’t where it needed to be at the time.
But times have changed, and the iPad with it. Modern iPads have the Smart Connector for the Smart Keyboard and either a Lightning or USB-C port, so the goals of the dual docking scenario for the original are still alive today in a way.