In one of those stealth moves that makes you wonder if manufacturing ever talks to marketing, Apple’s newly shipping iPad Pro seems to feature very unannounced USB 3.0 support.
According to the reliably excellent Ars Technica, iFixit tore the device apart and one of the things they found inside was a USB 3.0 controller (a Fresco Logic FL1100 4-port USB 3.0 Host Controller to be precise). Now Apple has confirmed that USB 3.0 speeds will be supported over the iPad Pro’s Lightning port, giving you a theoretical max throughout of 5Gbps, double the speed of USB 2.0.
Of course, you’ll have to go out and buy another cable to do that, as the machine thoughtfully ships with only a USB 2.0-speed Lightning cable. And of course, you can’t do that just yet either, as no one makes one, but it’s nice to have the capability in there.
In some respects it even seems like a bit of a retrograde step, as Thunderbolt can transfer twice as fast again. But, on the other hand, USB 3.0 is fully backwards compatible with USB 2.0 and it will be interesting to see if the next iteration of iDevices also boast this capability or whether it will be reserved for Apple’s ‘premium’ products.
In the meantime, there’s plenty more fascinating detail in the teardown that makes it worth a read, such as the sheer size of the four self-balancing speakers inside the case (it pushes high-frequency notes to the speakers on top whichever way it's oriented, shunting the lower frequencies to the bottom speakers - literally creating a bottom end) and the surprising fact that the battery is split in two. Oh, and little surprise, it gives the unit a self-repair rating of 3/10. You, you get the feeling, are not meant to be taking the cover off yourself anytime soon.