New iPhone Docking Station. Apple Tablet next?
When there were only iPods, docking and synchronizing them with with your Mac or PC was a pretty straightforward proposition. You just put your iPod into a docking cradle and it works. But what about iPhone? It can work both in horizontal and vertical position. Which way should you dock it? Any way, says Apple.
When developing an iPhone, Apple has also thought of the newish docking station that will be needed to operate it comfortably when charging and synchronizing iPhone with your computer.
According to the new design – an iPhone can be docked and be operational in both horizontal and vertical modes, or even in any 360 degree orientation you like. There are two possible implementations of this docking station described Apple patent “Methods and apparatuses for docking a portable electronic device that has a planar like configuration and that operates in multiple orientations”
First (above) is a fixed docking station where the connection interfaces between the dock and the iPhone can be synchronized independently of the direction at which the device is put in the cradle.
Another embodiment has the docking station that includes the base and rotational platform. The iPhone is fixed to the platform in one direction only, however the platform itself can be rotated at 360 degree angle:
What’s interesting about this implementation is that Apple is talking not only about the iPhone, but specifically mentions Tablet PC as a possible user of such configuration:
The portable electronic device 14 may correspond to a tablet, and the base may serve as a location for accessing the Internet or connecting to peripheral devices such as printers, fax machines, scanners, and the like…. In cases such as these the portable electronic device may correspond to a monitor, tablet PC…
Now, we all know that Apple iPhone grew out of the Apple’s research on Tablet PCs and tablets were abandoned in order to focus all the efforts on reinvention of the cellphone. The main patent for the iPhone – â€œMultifunctional handheld deviceâ€? doesn’t even mention the Tablet PC.
Could this patent application that surfaced today be an indication that Apple is resuming it’s efforts to develop a new tablet?