A prototype testing model of the first-gen iPad that may date back to late 2009 has sold on eBay for a staggering $10,200. Its high price is probably due to the fact that the unit has the intriguing novelty of two functioning dock connectors, reportedly a planned feature of the iPad that was abandoned late in the design process.
"This is one of a VERY small amount of Apple prototype devices and you rarely see these on eBay," the sales posting says.
"This iPad is incredibly unique. For starters, It has 2 dock connectors. Apple prototyped these iPads to have this connector late in the process and at the last minute decided to remove them. There are patent drawings and leaked casings that show the indents for both dock connector holes, but this unit has both dock connectors, and both are fully functional for charging this iPad and connecting it to your computer."
The double-dock theory isn't new: back in October 2010, the blog Mission:Repair posted photos of an iPad casing with holes for dock connectors on two sides. (The site thought this meant a double-dock iPad would be released to the general public, but no such product appeared.)
Having a pair of connectors would certainly appeal to manufacturers of speaker docks: the iPad could slot into a single connector whether being viewed in landscape or portrait orientation.
Rather than a conventional version of Apple's iOS software platform, the prototype iPad is based on a beta version of iOS 3.2. It runs Apple's 'SwitchBoard' software testing suite.
There were 23 bids for the prototype iPad, starting at $4,800 and finally reaching the winning total of $10,200 last night.