According to a recent iFixIt teardown of the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and confirmed by several officials within Apple’s higher ranks, the large screened tablet has been outfitted with a Lightning Port capable of propelling USB 3.0 data transfer speeds.
More specifically, while tearing apart the device, iFixIt reports having discovered a Fresco Logic FL1100 4-port USB 3.0 Host Controller, thus providing adequate support for tremendously improved USB 3.0 transfer speeds at a future time.
CNET reviewer, Scott Stein, also confirmed while reviewing the device that iPad Pro will support USB 3.0 speeds with the help of forthcoming adapters. Photographer Jeff Carlson also went on to report that sources at Apple had clarified the future support for USB 3.0 data transfer speeds in a forthcoming update to iOS
USB 3.0 speed is actually a pretty big deal, seeing as how the Lightning port on current iPads and iPhones can only transfer data at around 25 to 35MB/s — in other words, at USB 2.0 speed. At USB 3.0 speeds, however, data transfers would tend to be upwards of 60MB/s, effectively peaking at 625MB/s. USB 3.0 speeds for data transfer over Lightning has been a rumor swirling around Apple devices for several years now, however the prospect has thus far not materialized.
Although both Stein and Carlson have suggested the upcoming release of new adapters that will enable the significantly faster file transfers, a release timeline has yet to be clarified. It is also not known whether Apple plans to introduce new Lightning cables, altogether — that will enable USB 3.0 speeds when transferring files from a computer, or whether they plan to release more hardware centric updates.
A series of tests that were conducted utilizing Apple’s existing Lightning cables and accessories revealed that those cables only transfer files to the iPad Pro at USB 2.0 speeds, which indicates that new hardware will more than likely be required to take advantage of the iPad Pro’s enhanced Lightning port down the road.