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iPad Pro Quietly Adds Support for USB 3.0

Apple Products have had an interesting relationship with USB products in years past. From the days of their introducing FireWire in their machines as a replacement for the USB hardware to completely circumventing it by inventing their own Lightning Connector. Apple has a long found a way to work around the slower transfer speeds that USB 1.0 and 2.0 had in the past.

Very silently, though, their latest iOS powerhouse device – the 12” iPad Pro – has been found to offer USB 3.0 support through the Lightning Connector. Why is this significant? Consider the older technology. Though the Lightning Connector has been around for a while, the other end of the cable is a standard USB 2.0 plug. USB 2.0 taps out at a theoretical 480 Mbits per second.

USB 3.0 has a theoretical data transfer speed of 4.8 Gbps per second (or 4,800 Mbits.) Get the picture? It’s fast.

However, you’ll need an adapter of some sort to make it a worthwhile change.


iPad USB 3.0 SD Card Reader
iPad USB 3.0 SD Card Reader

Since the tech blog Ars Technica broke the story in November, there hasn’t been anything on the market to actually utilise this new capability in the iPad Pro, until now. Apple has upgraded support in their SD Card Reader for iPad to handle USB 3.0 speeds, meaning that you’ll be able to transfer pictures and videos to your iPad Pro much faster than before.

The jury is still out on what further technologies could be made available. As noted, the real benefit to USB 3.0 is the upgraded speed of transfer. So, while it’s only good for transferring pictures from an SD card to your iPad faster right now, there is potential that it could also make syncing with iTunes, your computer, or other peripheral devices faster as well. It also means the way that data transfers from the tablet to devices. Think a smoother recording via AmpliTude for guitarists, faster uploads to your school computer’s image editing or video editing software, and a faster copy of large iOS updates from Apple Configurator.

Either way, as more technology becomes available, faster is always better. In 2016 Onefruit will release USB 3.0 versions of their popular Chargebus Multi Chargers.

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iPad Pro Blurring Lines, Rather Than Breaking New Grounds

Apple CEO Tim Cook famously bashed the Microsoft Surface when the first generation device was released by challenging the philosophy behind the device. Microsoft pushed it as a device that could replace your laptop. With the new Microsoft Surface 4, they took that one step further by installing the desktop version of Windows into the mobile device. 

When Apple announced the iPad Pro earlier this year, the 12.9” tablet drew comparisons to the Surface, and rightly so. At that size, it’s the size of most of Apple’s MacBook line, and only a few hundred grams lighter than the MacBooks. So, is it the tablet that can replace your laptop?

Rather than replace, the iPad Pro certainly seeks to make your forget about it.

The real difference is Apple’s decision to stick with iOS on the device, rather than scaling down OS X. 

The larger real-estate on the screen dose make using just about every app better. Add in new iOS 9 features like Split Screen and productivity takes a boost. The new stereo speakers (the first iOS device to have stereo instead of mono speakers) really shine by using a new feature that adjusts the balance of the audio depending on how you’re holding the device. 

In the work-room, presentation, home office and education settings, the mobile device has great potential. Reviewers are singing its praises.

However, it’s not without its failings. At 12.9” many reviewers say the device is not comfortable to hold one handed. This may make walking and taking notes a little difficult. Too, you are limited to the range of iOS apps, which while expansive doesn’t always compete with its desktop versions of apps. Additionally, the pricey iPad Pro smart keyboard ($169) and iPad Pro-only pencil ($99) are sold separately. 

While the device is making headway with Apple fans, and has businesses and schools looking at the possibility of using it, the extra price point may be a hard sell for early adopters.