updated 02:37 pm EDT, Mon May 28, 2012
Apple had patented dual-connector design
Before the iPad debuted, but not known to outsiders until later, Apple seriously considered a design that would incorporate two 30-pin dock connectors, and got as far as the prototyping stage. An Ebay auction that appeared today shows a 16GB iPad prototype with the second dock connector, which was dropped in the final design. The second connector was located in the center of the left side of the device for horizontal docking.
Proof that Apple had been seriously looking at the dual-dock design didn't turn up until five months after the debut of the device in 2010, when patent drawings followed by a part photo revealed the design, which at the time was assumed to be for the next (2011) iPad.
The complete prototype on Ebay is said to be functional but lacking a working touchscreen. The only other difference from the final design is that the prototype is running an Apple diagnostic tool used internally at the company called SwitchBoard. The unit lacks iPad trademarks but features a prototype ID number, along with part numbers and copyright from prior to the official iPad debut.
The prototype is listed at a "Buy It Now" price of $10,000 and at present has attracted one bid of $4,800. It is scheduled to end later today, perhaps hoping to prevent Apple from having enough time to get the auction taken down or halted as it normally does in the case of prototype sales.