Apple releases faster USB 3.0 Lightning to SD card reader for iPad Pro

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in iPad
The faster USB 3.0 port hidden within the iPad Pro now has its first official accessory: A new Lightning to SD card reader that takes advantage of the next-generation port exclusive to Apple's jumbo-sized iPad.




The new Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader is now available to purchase from Apple, priced at $29. The silent hardware update arrived in Apple's online store on Tuesday.

In the product description, Apple notes that the updated Lightning to SD card reader supports data transfer at up to USB 3 speeds on iPad Pro. The accessory is also backwards compatible, supporting USB 2 speeds on all other iPad and iPhone models.

The card reader is compatible with iPhone 5 and newer, as well as the third-generation iPad and newer.

Teardowns of the iPad Pro revealed last month that Apple had quietly included a USB 3.0 controller in its 12.9-inch iPad Pro. At the time Apple simply said that forthcoming adapters would take advantage of the USB 3-level speeds.

The USB 3.0 spec can reach signaling rates of 5 Gbps, a tenfold increase in bandwidth compared to USB 2.0. A boost in data transfer speeds would be a welcome addition to Apple's iOS device lineup given each successive iPhone and iPad generation comes with an increase in processing power. Running Apple's latest A9 series SoC's, iPhone 6s and iPad Pro are capable of chewing through 4K video files in iOS 9 apps like iMovie, though the resulting file size makes exporting to a Mac or the Web somewhat of a challenge.

Apple introduced Lightning connector in 2012 as a replacement for the aging 30-pin connector. Instead of going with an industry standard, the company opted to build its own bidirectional connector, facilitating orientation agnostic plug insertion for a better user experience.

Apple is not averse to USB 3.0, however, as evidenced by its inclusion across the entire Mac lineup. Interestingly, Apple chose to implement USB-C -- with a USB 3.1-capable controller capped at 5 Gbps -- in the new 12-inch Retina MacBook, a protocol featuring a bidirectional plug design similar to Lightning.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 43
    quevarquevar Posts: 101member
    Why doesn't Apple put a lighting port on their OS X based computers? Would be great to be able to reuse these accessories for SD card readers (yes, many have them, but I use mine as permanent extra storage now), VGA, DVI, adapters. The port is small enough to fit on any of them and would likely be a minimal extra cost.
  • Reply 2 of 43
    Does anyone know if the old adapter now also works with the iPhone? (I was unsuccessful with my iPhone 6s running iOS 9.1 and will try again just after it is updated to iOS 9.2)
  • Reply 3 of 43
    jeromec said:
    Does anyone know if the old adapter now also works with the iPhone? (I was unsuccessful with my iPhone 6s running iOS 9.1 and will try again just after it is updated to iOS 9.2)
    Well, this seems to be an iOS 9.2 feature according to its release notes. Very happy about it!
  • Reply 4 of 43
    jeromec said:
    jeromec said:
    Does anyone know if the old adapter now also works with the iPhone? (I was unsuccessful with my iPhone 6s running iOS 9.1 and will try again just after it is updated to iOS 9.2)
    Well, this seems to be an iOS 9.2 feature according to its release notes. Very happy about it!
    It works!
    cornchip
  • Reply 5 of 43
    So, one can only use this to transfer photos and videos?

    Having crossed this rubicon, why can't Apple allow other types of files (KN/PPT, Numbers/Excel, Pages/Word) to be transferred?
    edited December 2015
  • Reply 6 of 43
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,357member
    quevar said:
    Why doesn't Apple put a lighting port on their OS X based computers? Would be great to be able to reuse these accessories for SD card readers (yes, many have them, but I use mine as permanent extra storage now), VGA, DVI, adapters. The port is small enough to fit on any of them and would likely be a minimal extra cost.
    I bet they will, when they drop the 3.5mm jack on the iPhone, and then start replacing it across the product lineup. Next up the Retina MacBook. It would be so nice to have a 2nd multifunction port instead of just a dedicated single purpose audio jack.
  • Reply 7 of 43
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,323member
    I'd like to make it clear that Apple didn't "choose" to use the slower 5Gbs for the Macbook. Intel's M series of chips don't support the higher rate yet, and so Apple didn't have a choice if they were going to use the low power chips. We can be sure that when intel does support 10Gbs in their M series, the Macbook will as well.
    cornchipjustadcomics
  • Reply 8 of 43
    kitukitu Posts: 8member
    False info/to be corrected: Not iPad gen3 compatible (first retina iPad) directly, as that has 31pin connector.. 
    cornchip
  • Reply 9 of 43
    It would be nice if there were a micro SD slot similar to the SIM slot so there wouldn't be a need for a dongle.


  • Reply 10 of 43
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,494member
    techlover said:
    It would be nice if there were a micro SD slot similar to the SIM slot so there wouldn't be a need for a dongle.


    No, it wouldn't be nice. Every port is a potential point of failure or invasion of harmful stuff. Or do you imagine an expensive precision door like the SIM card uses? Be real.
  • Reply 11 of 43
    appexappex Posts: 687member
    Apple should change to standard ports in all its devices.
  • Reply 12 of 43
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member
    jeromec said:
    jeromec said:
    jeromec said:
    Does anyone know if the old adapter now also works with the iPhone? (I was unsuccessful with my iPhone 6s running iOS 9.1 and will try again just after it is updated to iOS 9.2)
    Well, this seems to be an iOS 9.2 feature according to its release notes. Very happy about it!
    It works!
    yes

  • Reply 13 of 43
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    techlover said:
    It would be nice if there were a micro SD slot similar to the SIM slot so there wouldn't be a need for a dongle.
    just stop. that's been a trope since iPhone 1 ("Doesn't have external storage!"), and it never will. get over it and move on with your life. 
    edited December 2015 cornchipbrometheuschia
  • Reply 14 of 43
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member

    appex said:
    Apple should change to standard ports in all its devices.
    when those ports do everything they need them to, perhaps they will. 
    justadcomicsargonaut
  • Reply 15 of 43
    anomeanome Posts: 1,218member

    appex said:
    Apple should change to standard ports in all its devices.
    when those ports do everything they need them to, perhaps they will. 
    More to the point, when there's ONE port that does everything they need them to, maybe they will.
    justadcomics
  • Reply 16 of 43
    anome said:

    appex said:
    Apple should change to standard ports in all its devices.
    when those ports do everything they need them to, perhaps they will. 
    More to the point, when there's ONE port that does everything they need them to, maybe they will.
    I just had the image of a thunderbolt port glommed onto my phone jump into my brain lol
  • Reply 17 of 43
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,323member
    appex said:
    Apple should change to standard ports in all its devices.
    That wasn't serious, right?
    justadcomics
  • Reply 18 of 43
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,635member
    flaneur said:
    techlover said:
    It would be nice if there were a micro SD slot similar to the SIM slot so there wouldn't be a need for a dongle.


    No, it wouldn't be nice. Every port is a potential point of failure or invasion of harmful stuff. Or do you imagine an expensive precision door like the SIM card uses? Be real.

    What's unreal about that?  The OnePlus X has a dual slot SIM tray, with the second slot housing either a second SIM or a micro SD card, depending on user preference.  And since it's the same slot it isn't another point of failure.

    Macs manage to have external storage just fine, and iOS has coped with contorted methods of attaching extra storage for some time now.  It's about time Apple stopped making things so difficult.

  • Reply 19 of 43
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,323member
    crowley said:
    flaneur said:
    techlover said:
    It would be nice if there were a micro SD slot similar to the SIM slot so there wouldn't be a need for a dongle.


    No, it wouldn't be nice. Every port is a potential point of failure or invasion of harmful stuff. Or do you imagine an expensive precision door like the SIM card uses? Be real.

    What's unreal about that?  The OnePlus X has a dual slot SIM tray, with the second slot housing either a second SIM or a micro SD card, depending on user preference.  And since it's the same slot it isn't another point of failure.

    Macs manage to have external storage just fine, and iOS has coped with contorted methods of attaching extra storage for some time now.  It's about time Apple stopped making things so difficult.

    You know, it's interesting that the lack of a USB port, or an SD slot, is something that's actually preferred by large businesses. Both are major entry ports for Data theft. The fact that they aren't there is adding to security. Apple's adapters don't allow remote code execution as regular USB and SD slots would.
    cornchipchiapmzjustadcomicsargonaut
  • Reply 20 of 43
    4th gen iPads and newer. Not 3rd gen - still had old 30 pin charger not lightning.
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