MacRumors reports this evening that it has found what appears to be a prototype iPad up for auction on eBay. Although, that’s not the big story here. Prototypes are found floating around on eBay throughout the year.
Instead, the main focus of the report is on the fact that this iPad prototype has a landscape dock connector port.
The prototype found – (shown above) – is significant for a variety of reasons, the most obvious of which is that the device appears to sport an outer profile design closer to Apple’s first-generation iPad, versus the more tapered overall look of the iPad 2.
Why is that significant? — Well, previously it was thought that the landscape dock connector port may make its appearance in a future iPad model. However, if the model found tonight is anything to go by, it looks like Apple may at one point have tested the feasibility and look of such a port, but later scrapped the idea before the announcement of the original iPad, in January 2010.
Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard that Apple could be considering adding a landscape dock connector to its famed tablet. In fact, the idea has actually been patented by the California-based company.
The prototype iPad is in nearly functional condition, although it appears that minor repairs to the touch sensing capabilities are needed,” writes Eric Slivka for MacRumors.
“While it is possible that a second dock connector could be faked with appropriate tools and spare parts, extensive documentation on the listing in the form of detailed photos appears to be consistent with the device being a genuine Apple prototype. Several components carry part numbers and copyright dates from prior to original iPad’s components, and the device is running Apple’s SwitchBoard diagnostic software.”
If you want to get your hands on this 16GB prototype, bidding is currently sitting at $4,800 – with just 24-hours remaining until the end of the auction.