iPad Pro’s sneaky surprise: A USB 3.0-capable Lightning port

By

iPad Pro
Bag a bargain iPad Pro today.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Sure, the hot new iPad Pro is big, beautiful, and plenty capable, but it’s also apparently future-proof.

Apple snuck in a USB 3.0-capable Lightning port into the bottom of your favorite massive tablet without telling anyone.

iFixit originally found the unexpected feature when it did its usual teardown of the new Apple device. When they got to the Lightning controller inside the new iPad Pro, they realized that it was a Fresco Logic FL1100 4-port USB 3.0 Host Controller.

That’s pretty great, as USB 3.0 can transfer data at speeds of up to 5 gigabits per second, which is 10 times as fast as USB 2.0. Sure, Thunderbolt, the other high-speed data tech that Apple uses (and created by Intel), can transfer twice as fast, but USB 3.0 has the advantage of backwards compatibility with USB 2.0.

Unfortunately for iPad Pro owners, Apple only includes a USB 2.0 Lightning cable in with the new tablet, and there don’t seem to be any 3.0-capable cables out there at the moment.

Most of us are happy with AirDrop and other cord-free data transfers these days, but having the future possibility of faster data transfer speed via a USB 3.0 Lightning cable should come as a welcome advantage to those who might use it most, like photographers or filmmakers.

Regardless, it’s just the kind of future-proofing Apple tends to do to keep our favorite devices at the top of our shopping lists, and it will doubtless be soon that we’ll see some Lightning cables to match the port.

Via: Ars Technica