Why USB-C on the iPad Pro would be a terrible idea

“At this point, it seems that everyone is agreed that the new iPad, announced tomorrow, will replace the excellent Lightning connector with the inferior USB-C connector,” Charlie Sorrel writes for Cult of Mac. “But I’m not so sure. ”

Sorrel writes, “Not only is the ‘evidence’ for this huge change sketchy and speculative at best, but USB-C would bring almost no benefit to anyone — not users, and not Apple.”

“The thing is, Lighting already is USB. It’s USB with benefits. Using the Camera Connection Kit dongle, you can plug in keyboards, music mixing desks, cameras, audio interfaces, external monitors, USB Ethernet adapters,” Sorrel writes. “The list is long because the list potentially covers anything with a USB plug on it. And right now USB on the iPad Pro is USB 3.0. Changing that to the USB 3.1 used with USB-C is totally possible.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yes, as Sorrel writes, there aren’t any advantages to dropping Lighting and replacing it with USB-C, but there are plenty of disadvantages.


    1. Suggesting that USB C would make it harder for consumers seems to be at right angles to reality. Charging would be easier – as would connection of other peripherals without a dongle.

      The journalist noted that nobody connects anything but a charger to their iPad without realising that it was because an iPad doesnt have USB. The listed disadvantages of USB C in the article are manufactured and unreal.

  1. AAARGG! There is room for ten ports on an iPad!

    The reason they only give us one port is so that the whole device becomes garbage when the port wears out from over use. And to sell us overpriced dongles. Particularly the Apple pen looks designed to tear your iPad in two whenever you charge it. It is the opposite of the mag-safe connector, designed to maximize damage in an accident.

    If someone has a video on a thumb drive, the easiest way to watch it on your iPhone or iPad is to go through a windows computer! That is stupid. I once shot a film with my iPhone and a Sony camcorder. I had no problem getting the Sony’s footage on to my friends (older) mac, but the iPhone footage proved impossible because there was no version of iTunes that worked with both my phone and my friend’s computer. It’s just file transfer, damn it, why does Apple have to make it so hard?

    1. Although you are right that having both ports would be nice, I don’t think obsolescence is the reason. More ports would require more support electronics inside and less room for batteries. Apple is known for shaping the battery to the space, not the other way around.

    2. I suggest you learn how to use a Mac properly then, Apple gives you all the tools to transfer large files from IPhone to Mac and always has. Have you even ever tried Image Capture on the Mac?

      It comes built in with the Mac OS. I use it on my 2011 iMac and it works perfectly with my IPhone Xs. My nephew has an older plastic Mac running Lion and Image Capture still works with my Xs

      It supports all iPhones and iPads. Simply plug in your device, launch Image Capture and it your device will show up in the left hand pane. Select the files you want and drag them to your desired folder.

      1. You do need a cable for that, right? If you don’t have a cable with you, use AirDrop.

        Just used AirDrop the other day to send some photos from my iPhone 7 (iOS 10) to my 2012 mini running El Capitan.

  2. Useless opinion article.

    Apple has no good excuse why to support two different multipurpose connectors for Macs and iOS Macwannabes.

    USB-C is more capable, so put it on the device NOW. Implement it as a second port now to ease the transition as you sunset the lightning connector. It will open up a new market for capable industry standard accessories that cannot happen with lightning. Put pretty caps over both connections if fashionistas can’t bear to see openings.

    1. Two ports? Heresy! That will only happen over Johnny Ive’s dead body. Why if Apple could have done that they would have added Thunderbolt to the 2012 Mac Pro and not needed to stunt Thunderbolt adoption by keeping it from the very machines that needed it.

  3. This is a weak article. For how much MDN dislikes “fake news”, they post of lot of fluff opinion pieces. The Sorrel even admits at the end of the article that he’s talking out his ass and has no information to suggest what Apple may do.

    I’ve written before that Apple has gotten sloppy with the “Pro” label, so before Apple muddies the waters further, let me just assert that the 2015 iPad Pro is an abomination for many reasons, but largely because it is hampered with one inadequate proprietary connector. I also piled on with the stupid decision to hamper the 2016 MacBook with a single USB-C port, but at least Apple wasn’t so stupid as to claim that was a Pro model.

    Anyway, to counter Sorrel’s bizarre and poorly reasoned opinionation, here are counterpoints rooted in FACTS, which used to be a hit around these parts before brand loyalty became the highest order of the day.

    USB-C supports Thunderbolt 3 data transfer rates (40Gbps with short or active cable, 20Gbps with long passive cable); Lightning can only push 5 GB/sec, equivalent to USB 3.0.
    USB-C supports 8K video at >60hz, Lightning does not and never will — in fact, Apple makes video transfer from iOS devices a $50 HDMI adapter proposition only. Apple can’t even bother to offer adapters to Apple’s now discontinued displays, or modern DisplayPort capable projectors and displays which are superior to HDMI in many instances.
    USB-C supports higher charging voltages (up to 100W power) than Lightning, which would allow for faster recharging possibilities — much faster than inductive charging too
    USB-C is less expensive for manufacturers and consumers because it is license free and has much larger volumes of scale
    USB-C would allow more accessories and wires to be common between iPads and Macs, shrinking users’ dongle bags

    Sorrel asserts that USB is a “piece of crap” with no data or examples to support his biased opinion. Well then how hard could it be for Apple to outperform the cheap dongle makers with Ive’s genius designer dongles?

    Apple needs to abandon the Pro label for all its iOS stuff, or abandon Lightning. Because Lightning is not Pro. USB-C, like it or not, is superior (if like Lightning a bit underwhelming in physical robustness) in almost all measures that a professional user would care about.

    It would be nice if when making a presentation at a client, everyone could connect to their conference room projector in full 8K resolution big screen glory using a standard cable connector. Macs, iPads, PCs, why not all adopt USB-C? It’s time. Global standardization is better for everyone. Cheering for a proprietary connector because of brand name or perceived profit gain is lame.

    1. Lightning can do all of those things, it supports the same protocols. Also, the usb-c connector is what thunderbolt 3 uses, but they aren’t the same thing. The A12X would have to have a thunderbolt controller built in on Ofer to use that

      1. Yep, but the licensing for usb must be a small fraction of the price for lighting. I recently bought a replacement lightning cable. On sale it cost $10 more than the exact same usb cable.

        Apple Tax is worse than ever

    2. Apple controls the specs for Lightning. They can make it as fast as they like and it can carry as much power as they like.

      Moot point now that we’ve seen the new iPads have usb-c.

  4. Well Apple had the final word today.

    “USB-C gives you a high-performance connection to accessories like an external display or camera.”

    Still not a Mac, but Apple slowly adds capability for graphic artists and the like. I predict it will take Pipeline another 4 years to phase out Lightning, but the writing is on the wall.

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