More evidence is surfacing which suggests that upcoming iPad Pro models could make the switch to USB-C.
Developer Steve Troughton-Smith, who has been exploring the recently unveiled iOS 12.1 beta, tweeted on Wednesday about a discovery he made in the iOS Xcode Simulator.
Specifically, the iOS 12.1 developer beta appears to add support for visualized 4K external displays, Troughton-Smith said.
That is not a feature that’s even possible on any existing iOS device — even with the Lightning HDMI adapter.
As such, the new feature could be indicative of an upcoming iPad Pro that ditches the Lightning port in favor of USB-C. Unlike Lightning, a USB-C port on an iPad Pro would allow 4K video-out.
New in iOS 12.1: the iOS Simulator supports virtualized 4K external displays. This is not possible on any existing iOS device via the Lightning HDMI adapter — lends credence to iPad perhaps getting a USB-C port for 4K video-out? pic.twitter.com/WfNBerHIrb
— Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith) September 19, 2018
Previous USB-C Rumors
Renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo forecasted earlier this month that Apple could ditch the Lightning port on upcoming iPad Pro models for a new USB-C interface.
The switch to USB-C would allow for better charging and data transmission speeds, Kuo said. The analyst also predicts that new Pro-level Apple tablets will ship with a redesigned 18W power adapter.
That’s in addition to the perks that Troughton-Smith indicated in his own research about iOS 12.1.
Just a few days ago, Troughton-Smith tweeted that the iOS 12.1 “seems to care a lot more about whether an external display is connected.”
Adding USB-C to the iPad Pro lineup would mark the first time that an iOS-based product has made the switch. Despite rumors indicating that Apple could add USB-C to its iPhones, that doesn’t seem to be the plan for the foreseeable future.
But USB-C on an iPad Pro would bridge the gap between the iOS and macOS ecosystems, which does line up with Apple’s plans — as indicated by Project Marzipan and development of cross-platform applications.
An iPad Pro with a USB-C port could become even more of a viable computer replacement, particularly if it could be hooked up to high-quality external computer displays. The amount of other supported peripherals, like keyboards and mouses, could also be bumped by switching to USB-C.
When Will New iPad Pro Models Launch?
Apple was originally rumored to debut a slew of new products at its September event. That, of course, did not turn out to be the case.
Despite that, we probably won’t have to wait long for new iPad Pro models — and Macs — to launch.
In the past, Apple has occasionally split its fall lineup across two separate announcement events, one in September and another in October. Most signs point toward a similar keynote schedule this year.
Because of that, it’s likely that we could hear about an upcoming Apple event through press invites relatively soon.
In addition to a USB-C port, new iPad Pro devices are largely expected to sport a larger edge-to-edge display design, no Home button, and Face ID.