Apple planned an iPad with two ports but shelved it, prototype images show
The original iPad could have had two ports
Images of an unreleased first-generation iPad prototype (via iMore) reveal Apple at one stage planned to include two 30-pin connectors, the port Apple used before transitioning to Lightning in 2012, on the original tablet.
This would have enabled a so-called dual dock system, with one of the 30-pin connectors being positioned on the bottom of the prototype iPad and the extra one added on the left side of the device.
From the information that’s been shared, it seems the setup supported concurrent charging at the time. Accessory manufacturers, particularly keyboard brands, would have been able to take advantage of the port too, much like they do today with the iPad’s Smart Connector.
The decision to remove the second connector was reportedly made by Steve Jobs close to launch, in the design verification testing phase of development. And 10 years on from the original iPad’s announcement, that decision has never been reversed.
Apple has made a series of changes to the connector itself, though. In 2012, Apple replaced its old 30-pin connector with the Lightning port it continues to use today. In 2018, the iPad Pro series switched to USB-C. And come next month, the iPad Pro (2021) is expected to receive another connector upgrade in the form of a Thunderbolt port that should once again make it the best tablet on the market.