iPad 2 patent shows possible future features

Detailed schematics that potentially show features of the next version of the iPad have been uncovered in China by Patently Apple, a website that tracks Apple patent applications.

The new designs, which are unconfirmed at present, describe two supposedly new features; the first is the addition of a second dock connector on the side of the iPad to allow for landscape as well as portrait docking, while the second illustrates a feature the site is calling a "smart bezel".

According to the site, it first came across the term "smart bezel" in February 2010 in a separate Apple patent for a future iPad.

"The feature, whatever it is, is found in three distinct graphics to impress upon us that it is a distinct feature consistently found in the left bottom corner of the iPad", the site reports.

The patent could be connected to another that was awarded to Apple earlier in the year by the US Patent Office. It talks about a new technology that remembers who you are simply from the way you hold the device.

Once the unit recognises who is holding it, buttons can be moved and settings personalised to reflect the way the person using the handheld product likes to have things set up.

While another patent, also held by Apple, hints at one that features disappearing buttons, suggesting that a smart bezel could be used for bookmarks or flicking through pages.

Whatever it is, it's a distinct move away from the one button design current found in the iPad and the company's iPhone and iPod models. 

What do you think it could be? Let us know in the comments below...