Judging from a recently awarded patent, Apple may have its sights set on a flexible version of the Lightning dock. Titled "Dock connector with compliance mechanism", the patent features a docking station for iOS devices that would allow the unit to pivot when plugged in.
Think of it as MagSafe for the Lightning dock. Not only would pushing on a connected device simply roll, slide or pivot the mechanism to avoid damage, but the dock could be configured to return the connector to an upright position. Current dock-based Lightning connectors aren't known for their flexibility. Much like the previous 30-pin connector, male Lightning connectors are generally in a fixed position.