Don't get your hopes up too much just yet, but it looks like you might one day no longer need to detangle a USB cable or fiddle with a plastic dock adapter the next time you want to charge or sync your iPhone or iPod. That's if this recently revealed patent application for a new type of universal dock from Apple turns into an actual product, at least. The secret to the dock, such as it is, is that the base would be made of an elastic, sponge-like substance that could conform to any device and hold it in place. What's more, the dock would apparently even be able retain the imprint of your device for convenient use next time, and be reset at the push of the button to let you use it with another device -- we're not quite sure how this thing is supposed to hold up a tablet, though.

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Apple patent application details universal iPhone / iPod dock