Apple has been awarded patent number .9,300,083 that expands Smart Connector technology currently used in the two iPad Pro tablets. The patent allows for the connection of multiple peripherals at the same time, addressing a current limitation of the Smart Connector.
The Smart Connector first appeared on the iPad Pro to work with keyboard accessories. The connector eliminates the need for Bluetooth connections for such peripherals, and uses the iPad to supply power to the keyboard. It's limited to connecting one peripheral at a time.
The new patent documents stacking up to three connectors, allowing the handling of up to three peripherals at once. The connectors can work together in a universal dock scenario. The patent application addresses using the new connectors for battery packs, keyboards, external storage units and more.
Like the existing Smart Connector, the new technology will use a magnetic connection to make peripherals align properly and instantly make the connection with peripherals.
Should this technology make it to future peripherals and iPads, this would open up the device that has normally been closed to peripherals that aren't wireless. It could make adding external storage a possibility, further positioning the iPad as a laptop replacement.
Perhaps this new connector could address what we find to be the biggest limitation in current Smart Connector technology. Apple could possibly implement this in a way to make keyboards support multiple viewing angles.