The iPad Pro Lightning connector is capable of supporting USB 3.0 speeds

By , Nov 12, 2015

iPad Pro Smart Keyboard closed

According to CNET’s iPad Pro review, Apple’s just-released tablet is capable of supporting USB 3.0 transfer speeds via its Lightning connector. The report, which corroborates a finding by iFixit, and was later brought to our attention by MacRumors’ Juli Clover, is notable for a few reasons.

First, it would make the iPad Pro the first and only device that Apple makes (that’s not a Mac) to support USB 3.0 transfer speeds. Secondly, it means that copying large 4K video files to the device will be much more feasible.

The report goes on to say that support for the higher transfer speeds will, unsurprisingly, require a new adapter that supports the added throughput. That means that those of you who already own Apple’s Lightning to USB or Lightning to SD Card adapters will need to upgrade to take advantage of the faster speeds.

USB 3.0 is much faster than the USB 2.0, which is used in all existing Lightning cables and adapters made thus far. USB 2.0’s maximum theoretical speed is only 60MB per second, while USB 3.0 maxes out at 640MB per second.

This is absolutely wonderful news for those who are looking to use the iPad Pro for editing large video files. 4K video is notoriously large, and one lengthy 4K filming session could theoretically fill a 128 GB iPad Pro with relative ease.

The iPad Pro can easily handle 4K video editing thanks to its beefy specs, but the bottleneck has always been transferring large files to these US. 2.0 equipped devices. Now that it seems that this obstacle will shortly be a thing of the past, it makes the prospect of editing video on the iPad Pro something that I’m looking forward to doing even more.

There’s no word on when these new adapters might surface or how much they will cost, but we’ll definitely be keeping our eyes peeled. What do you think?

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  • Robin Keanu Keim

    I always wondered why Apple isn’t making a Lightning cable that uses Thunderbolt. It would speed through backing up/synching/updating/restoring your iDevice, Apple just loves to explain how much better Thunderbolt is compared to USB and obviously their names go great together ^^

    At least they are (hopefully) finally moving to USB 3.0. Would be great to see this for the iPhone 7 as well!

    • dpacemaker

      Most people don’t own a Mac, so making the standard USB makes sense. They should make one though for us Mac owners that want to take advantage of the superior connection.

      • Robin Keanu Keim

        Well Thunderbolt isn’t just available on Mac’s, nowadays there are a lot of PC’s that have Thunderbolt Connectors on their Logicboard. But I agree they really should make them, like they did with the first iPods. Apple had a FireWire and a USB cable for those iPods, up until USB caught up with FireWire in terms of speed and power throughput.

      • Franklin Richards

        Fair enough that thunderbolt isn’t just a mac thing but you’d be hard pressed to find an average priced PC with thunderbolt on it. And not enough accessories (at least to the average consumer) uses thunderbolt for it to become mainstream.

      • Robin Keanu Keim

        I’m not saying Thunderbolt should become the mainstream connector, it would just be nice if there were a Lightning cable that would use this great technology. Yes there are not enough accessories that use Thunderbolt, I totally agree with that. To this point Thunderbolt remains something for the pro market, like the article mentions, its more for people that want/need to transfer a huge amount of very large files like 4K videos or raw high res pictures. But that’s also a great point to make Thunderbolt more “mainstream”, Apple adds Thunderbolt to all their computers, they even upgraded the connector to be even more faster, but they don’t make any accessories that use Thunderbolt, which is a shame considering how fast and good Thunderbolt really is…

    • TechnoBuff

      Thunderbolt is still a rarity out there, walk into Bestbuy and check how many PC has thunderbolts? you will struggle to find it.
      That port is predominantly a Mac feature and will remain so…

      • Robin Keanu Keim

        Well I can’t say anything about other regions and yes I do believe that Thunderbolt still is more of a Mac feature, but I noticed that since the last 2 – 2 1/2 years, the computer stores around me are selling a lot more PC’s that have Thunderbolt ports. They aren’t really marketing it and yes there are a few PC’s (mostly Laptops) that don’t have Thunderbolt but even a year ago when I bought parts to build a new PC, about half of all the Logicboards that where new and that I looked for had Thunderbolt ports on them.

    • They should have used USB C. The USB C standard is as fast as thunderbolt if not, faster.

      • Robin Keanu Keim

        USB-C transfers data at 10Gbs, Thunderbolt 1 transfers data at the same 10Gbs, but has a dual channel design wich means it’s not slowing down at multiple file transfer at the same time. Thunderbolt 2 which is now used on all Macs doubles the speed to 20Gbs… So… No USB-C leaves a lot to be desired!

  • Unknow Unknow

    So pro going to shot video 4K and photos with huge iPad? Editing???? The only funtion of this iPad is the same of any another iPad that can do right now real fuller is Apple pencil why is only for iPad pro iPad pro doesn’t has any particular hardware like Force touch it’s just a regular stylus this iPad 100% can’t run as laptop and even close again it just a huge iPad

    • Shinonuke

      Use one for REAL work and your opinion might change

  • Unknow Unknow

    iPad pro vs Microsoft surface and the another sitte laptop Apple is 3 or 4 generarions behind so you people has to way 3 or 5 years til Apple sells the same iPad over and over and over over over again they can put in the new chip 10,40,50 or 1000 it still can’t do shitte imagine the Apple car it going to work with steam like cars 100 years ago then you have to wait five generations til it works with gasoline then another 5 to run with another future combustible by the time cars might will be fly,

    • Shinonuke

      That’s too bad, isn’t it?

  • IOS10

    Not to be mean or anything, but you spelled ‘Lightning’ as ‘Lightnimg’ in the first sentence of the first paragraph. Keep up the great work Jeff 🙂

  • What would you edit videos in? iMovie might cut it for a simple project but for anything you’d normally use Final Cut for on OS X there’s no alternative on iOS…

  • rockdude094

    Alright I get it the hardware is up to par in performance. Apple should make a separate os for their iPads b/c they are starting to get capable of many things

  • raulortiz318

    My guess is it’s the internal space needed to fit the hardware necessary for thunderbolt.

    USB-C will be a more likely option, as we’re already seeing it on some Android phones, although not sure if it provides additional speed or it is just to slim down the port.

    Edit: This was in reply to user Robin Keanu!