Two designs for Apple iPhone docking stations have just surfaced in an Apple patent application, showing cradles that allow the iPhone to be docked and viewed in either horizontal or vertical orientation. The patent application describes "Methods and apparatuses for docking a portable electronic device that has a planar like configuration and that operates in multiple orientations."
An intriguing aspect of the illustrations is the possibility that one of the cradle designs is not only intended for the iPhone, but also might encompass a tablet PC. Here's another illustration of a slightly different method, one that would also be appropriate for a tablet:
The patent application even mentions the term "tablet PC."
"The portable electronic device 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..."
It works in a similar way to rotating LCD monitors, letting you dock and view the iPhone in whichever direction you prefer.
New iPhone Docking Station. Apple tablet next? [Unwired View]