Apple October Event: The Pros and Cons of the iPad's USB-C Charging Port

There should be more ports.

Unlike literally every other iOS device, the iPad Pro has converted to USB Type C. This is undoubtedly convenient for some users, but also woefully annoying as the USB-C port at the bottom of the new 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models will now be the only jack on the entirety of the device. That means charging, listening, and plugging in accessories need to happen one at a time.

Apple removed the 3.5mm headphone jack without as much as a word about it during the event. That means if users want to use wired headphones on their refreshed iPad Pro, for example, they need use a new USB-C to 3.5mm headphone jack dongle. These will not come bundled with the tablets, customers will need to pick them up separately for $9.

What could have been an epic addition for iPad-power users that loathed having to use a USB-C to Lightning Cable adapter for their hard drives and other attachments is being undercut by the need for a whole new dongle. These are trying times for dongle-haters, but there may also be a silver lining here.

No sign of the headphone jack. The USB-C port is the only port in this year's iPad Pro.


iPad Pro USB-C Port: The Pros

USB-C is far more ubiquitous than Apple’s Lightning connector, it basically plugs into any other tech that’s not from the Cupertino-based company. Connecting peripherals like hard disks and cameras will no longer require an adapter, and charging the device can finally support 4K video.

Right now, only Thunderbolt 3 ports are capable of 4K support in Apple’s ecosystem, which comes with many of the Macs but not iPads. Adding this capability has made the iPad Pro far more tantalizing for, say, video editors that need to view their work in full resolution.

But this great addition is overshadowed by the fact that there’s only one port.

The two iPad Pro models side-by-side


iPad Pro USB-C Port: The Cons

Just like how iPhone users can’t charge and listen to music simultaneously without Bluetooth, iPad Pro users won’t be able to charge while using the port for attachments. This means users will need to ensure their device is fully charged before exporting or importing anything sizable or risk having to unplug and start again.

The removal of the headphone jack is not big surprise, Apple’s been sunsetting the jack since the release of the iPhone 7. But since the iPad Pro will likely be used for more demanding tasks — for example rendering high res in Photoshop or exporting a 4K video — it’s easy to see how this will take a toll on the “all day battery life.” Users could find themselves having to stop what they’re doing just to juice up the iPad Pro to keep going.

Apple giveth and Apple taketh away.

Check out more of our coverage of Apple’s final 2018 hardware announcement.

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