Apple iPad Pro Ships With USB 3.0 Port, Still Lacks Compliant Lightning Cable
As we discovered just the other day, Apple's latest iPad, Pro, isn't too repairable, scoring just 3 out of 10 on iFixit's scale - 10 being the best. Somewhat humorously, that's still a lot better the 1 out of 10 score the Surface Book received earlier this month.
Nonetheless, the teardown helped highlight a feature Apple kept mum on: a USB 3.0-compatible Lightning port. That means that with the right cable, users would be able to enjoy transfer speeds going through a 5Gbps bus. That's theoretically ~625MB/s peak, but more accurately would top out at around 500MB/s in the real-world thanks to overhead.
Currently, Lightning connectors utilizing USB 2.0 would peak at just over 30MB/s. The storage Apple bundles in its higher-end devices can likely handle much more than that; so what's lacking is the external cable that's not going to act as a bottleneck.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that a USB 3.0-speed port is included on the iPad Pro, Apple doesn't include an appropriate cable for it. Instead, a standard USB 2.0 cable is included. Those wanting to enjoy the higher speeds will need to purchase an appropriate cable. When they become available, that is. And, the importance of that depends on just how much you need the extra speed on such a limited-storage device, and whether or not there's some other bottleneck in the tablet that prevents higher-than-USB 2.0 speeds from being reached.
Once Apple decides to release such cables - and it will happen at some point - it won't take long to make a determination there.