Since Apple’s iPad 2 Dock apparently isn’t yet widely available – ours arrived early this week – developers have asked us for measurements of the noticeably larger sequel to the original iPad Dock, so they can consider whether to prepare Dock-compatible accessories. So here they are, with a few other observations ahead of our full review.
Original iPad Dock was 2 27/32” wide. iPad 2 Dock is 3 11/32” wide.
Original iPad Dock was 1 7/32” tall at its peak and 13/32” tall at its base. iPad 2 Dock is 1 17/32” tall at peak and 9/16” (18/32”) tall at the base. Each includes ~1/32” height attributable to a gray rubber pad on the bottom.
Original iPad Dock was 2 13/16” (or 2 26/32”) deep. iPad 2 Dock is 3 19/32” deep.
Original iPad Dock had no lip in the front, but did have an unusual gray pill-shaped bump under its Dock Connector. iPad 2 Dock eliminates the pill, adding a front lip that is 1/4” deep and 1/2” tall, slightly shorter than the rest of the base. The shape of the lip and the iPad 2-like curved groove prevent the iPad 2 Dock from working with the original iPad, and will prevent most cases from fitting into the iPad 2 Dock, as well. Notably, Apple’s own iPad Smart Cover does not fit in the iPad 2 Dock when fully closed. The lip leaves so little space that you’ll need to flip it open before insertion. This isn’t necessary with the original iPad Dock.
The Smart Cover’s inability to work normally with the iPad 2 Dock—and ability to work fine with the original—just underscores the question we’ve had since the iPad 2 Dock arrived: why would Apple go through the trouble to redesign a dock that physically works fine with both versions of the iPad, then render it even less case-friendly, to the point where Apple’s own solution becomes more difficult to use? This is particularly odd because Apple claimed during the iPad 2’s introduction that it had gone out of its way to design the Smart Cover to improve its compatibility with accessories. It’s somewhat similar to what happened with the fully case-incompatible iPhone 4 Dock, which couldn’t even work with Apple’s own iPhone 4 Bumpers, though in that case the dock actually became smaller than its predecessor. Not so here.
Our suspicion is that there may be some electronics changes inside the iPad 2 Dock that required at least the larger footprint, if not the front lip. We’ve noticed that the iPad 2 Dock is quicker to pass through iPad 2 video mirroring to a connected Apple Digital AV Adapter, and less likely to fail when attempting to re-start video mirroring after the iPad 2 is disconnected and reconnected. So something has definitely changed inside. Whether that something really required extra space—or whether Apple made an all but unprecedented decision to just bulk up the size of an accessory in the name of, say, added stability or easier insertion of the iPad—remains unclear at this point. We’ll know more after a teardown of the iPad 2 Dock.
One other note for case manufacturers considering iPad 2 Dock-compatible accessories: if you’re thinking of creating flaps or other ways to accommodate the Dock, please leave a regular Dock Connector opening, too. As nice as these flaps may be in concept, many users won’t use Apple’s docks and would love to use your cases without having to flip something open every time they recharge and sync. A properly tailored Dock Connector hole with enough space for cables and other accessories (including the bigger Digital AV Adapter (see pictures here)) to connect would be great.