Website Patently Apple, did some digging through the Chinese patent database and came across an interesting iPad related patent from Apple. China’s Patent and Trademark Office published the Apple patent request on September 24 and the drawings highlight new features not currently found in the 1st generation of iPads.
The patent drawings point to two dock connectors on the iPad allowing the device to be docked in either portrait or landscape mode. The current iPad has a single dock connector located on the bottom allowing only a portrait orientation when the device is docked. Dual iPad dock connectors would make it easier to dock the device in landscape mode which would be useful for typing applications or for watching movies.
Patently Apple also believes the patent application highlights a new FaceTime feature which might be included in future iPads. Based on their review of the patent applications, they believe the iPad will feature a front facing camera for FaceTime. Some readers argued the design feature was not a camera but rather the iPad’s ambient light sensor however Patently Apple is convinced it is indeed a camera.
There has been some speculation that Apple will be releasing a smaller form factor iPad before the holidays so these design elements could possibly find their way into this new device. Of course a smaller iPad is pure speculation at this point but it does give some insight into some of the design ideas Apple is coming up with for future tablet devices.