A recently published Apple patent (number 20120176087) demonstrates Apple's continued interest in moving away from the dock connection as a power and syncing source for iOS devices.

This patent displays a method of charging an iPod nano (click here to read our iPod nano review) via integrating the power socket with the clip on the reverse of the device. The clip is extended and attached to charging points on a dock connector. A new adaptor for the current range of dock connectors would provide the necessary connections.

The new patent demonstrates how the iPod nano could clip onto a dock for charging and data transfer

The abstract for the patent reads as follows

Systems and methods are provided for docking a portable user device to a docking device or adapter via a clip mechanism. A portable user device may include two clip members which rotate relative to one another about an axis. A coupling pivot may be coupled to both clip members to facilitate relative rotation, and may provide a clamping force between the clip members. One or more terminals may be located on at least one of the clip members, allowing data transfer, charging, or other functions when the portable user device is docked using the clip mechanism.

Although most iOS devices continue to sync with the standard dock connector, Apple has been known to experiment with other systems. Most notable is the iPod shuffle which continues to charge and sync through a connector integrated with the headphone jack.

As with the current docking solution, the system will allow the iPod nano to continue syncing with iTunes via a tethered cable connection. Apple is also rumoured to be introducing a new smaller connection with the next generation iPhone, 

See also:

Manufacturers confirm smaller dock connector for iPhone 5

Apple fined for self-combusting iPod nano