Recently released Apple industrial designs registered in China show a new iPad design with dual dock connectors and what appears to be a front-facing camera. Jack Purcher at Patently Apple
, who spends a lot of time combing through the databases for new stuff, turned up those designs
along with a drawing of an iPad with what appears to be a front-facing camera. There's some debate over whether the drawing just shows the iPad's light sensor, but Purcher is confident that it's a camera. Also, when I looked at the Hong Kong site, I found a drawing for a MagSafe connector that makes a right angle, so the cable won't always be sticking out. Pretty mundane, but handy.
The Intellectual Property Department of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
- effectively the patent office for the People's Republic of China - officially published a series of registered Apple industrial designs that were approved on September 24th. One of the design drawings [pdf
] shows two dock connectors on the iPad, which would allow the device to sit in a vertical dock in either portrait or landscape mode. The current iPad, of course, has only a single dock connector located on the bottom. The second iPad dock connectors would make it easier to dock the device in landscape mode for a more conventional orientation when using an external keyboard. Apple also registered a design for such an external keyboard dock that looks pretty much exactly like the currently shipping accessory, as well as for the iPad Camera Connection Kit.
This and another one of the drawings [pdf
] shows a small circle near the top of the screen, which Purcher is identifying as a front-facing camera for use with FaceTime. There has been some debate
following his post, as the circle is located exactly where the light sensor is on the current iPad. However, Purcher, who doesn't own an iPad, went down to an Apple Store to look at the light sensor and says he doesn't buy that explanation. "Are you kidding me?" he wrote. "You need a magnifying glass to see the damn thing."
Something Purcher didn't mention in his report is this cool drawing [pdf
] of a "magnetic connector" that's at right angles to the cable. The pins look just like a MagSafe connector, so this appears to be a new design for the MacBook and not the iPad. If you're sick of the power cord sticking out from the side of your laptop, Apple appears to have come up with a solution. The new design should be really handy for when you are working on a small surface, and looks like it'll be less easy to inadvertently disconnect.