First look: Apple's new USB 3 Lightning to USB-C cable and Camera Adapter for iPad Pro

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Owners of Apple's 12.9-inch iPad Pro can now tap into the greater power of the device's Lightning port thanks to a pair of new USB 3-based accessories released this week: A USB-C to Lightning cable, and a Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter with USB-A port input and power passthrough.




Apple's new Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter is available for $39, while the USB-C to Lightning cable is available in one-meter length for $25, or two-meter length for $35. While they are backwards compatible with iPads featuring USB 2 Lightning ports (including the 9.7-inch iPad Pro), only owners of Apple's larger 12.9-inch iPad Pro will be able to tap into their full potential.

The new accessories arrive a few months after Apple launched a faster USB 3 Lightning to SD card reader for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, back in December. That accessory sells for $29.




Both the new USB camera adapter and SD card reader take advantage of the faster speeds offered by USB 3, meaning files and photos will transfer to and from the 12.9-inch iPad Pro at a much faster rate. While USB 2 can transfer at up to 60 megabytes per second, USB 3 has a transfer rate of up to 625 megabytes per second.

Though it is named a "camera adapter," Apple's accessory actually supports a wide array of devices that can be plugged into its full-size USB-A port. Apple itself noted during its keynote presentation this week that the adapter can be used to connect keyboards, microphones, USB hubs for multiple accessories at once, and even ethernet adapters to an iPad.




In addition to a USB-A port, the camera adapter also includes a female Lightning port. This allows users to charge their iPad at the same time as using a connected device.

The capabilities of the new accessories get even more interesting when Apple's 29-watt power adapter is brought into the mix. Though the power adapter, which features a female USB-C plug, was designed for Apple's 12-inch MacBook, the new Lightning to USB-C cable allows the 12.9-inch iPad Pro to plug into it and charge at a faster rate.




AppleInsider first noted in February that the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is capable at utilizing an incoming charge of up to 29 watts. The new USB-C to Lightning cable finally brings that a reality, and can make recharging the massive battery in the 12.9-inch iPad Pro a much faster affair.

Of course, the Lightning to USB-C cable also gives users the ability to plug their iPhone or iPad directly into the single USB-C port on the 12-inch MacBook. Previously, users needed to have a USB-C to USB-A adapter to sync or charge via the MacBook.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    alandailalandail Posts: 690member
    Has anyone actually tried charging an iPad Pro with this cable and the MacBook power adapter to confirm it charges faster? A more than 2x speedup would be really nice.
  • Reply 2 of 18
    Why not just make everything with a usb-c port? You're just postponing the inevitable...
  • Reply 3 of 18
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 750editor
    alandail said:
    Has anyone actually tried charging an iPad Pro with this cable and the MacBook power adapter to confirm it charges faster? A more than 2x speedup would be really nice.
    Haven't done a measurable test, but I plugged it in today and it definitely charges noticeably faster. Apple's website also specifically states that quick charging is only capable with 12.9" Pro and 29W adapter. 
    alandail
  • Reply 4 of 18
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 750editor
    mpip2016 said:
    Why not just make everything with a usb-c port? You're just postponing the inevitable...
    Switching from Lightning would piss off a lot of people (many typical consumers still complain about the 30-pin switch), and USB-C is far from ubiquitous at this point, so why bother to switch? My guess: Apple is hoping it can depend on Lightning until future iDevices can charge and sync via induction. I wouldn't be surprised if future, more capable Smart Connectors pave the way for truly port-less iPads (and iPhones), just like the Apple Watch. 
  • Reply 5 of 18
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,071member
    I was able to connect my iPad Pro (12.9") to our wired corporate network using the new adapter and Apple's USB to Ethernet adapter. I could also (using GoodReader) access files on our network from SMB shares and transfer them at pretty good speeds. While this helps a lot, it is, for now, configuration free and only seems to work where there is DHCP available, as there is no mean to configure network settings (I could find). Unfortunately also no way to configure dedicated proxy settings for such a connection... Wonder where they are going with this.
    rezwits
  • Reply 6 of 18
    Did you try to use a USB 3 external drive or SSD with the Camera Adapter?
  • Reply 7 of 18
    USB 3? Um, I think you mean USB-C. 

    Also, these are massive moves, so why in Gods name did they artificially cripple the 9.7" iPad Pro by not enabling USB 3 transfer speeds and faster charging on that model? 
  • Reply 8 of 18
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 750editor
    USB 3? Um, I think you mean USB-C. 

    Also, these are massive moves, so why in Gods name did they artificially cripple the 9.7" iPad Pro by not enabling USB 3 transfer speeds and faster charging on that model? 
    Nope. USB 3 is available on the camera kit (using the USB-A connector, no less — same as modern MacBook Pros, which feature full-size USB-A ports at USB 3 speeds). USB 3 is a technology. USB-C is a connector.
  • Reply 9 of 18
    Okay, here nor there.  Did you try connecting an external hard drive that is USB 3.0 to the camera kit adapter to see if it could recognize media on it? 
  • Reply 10 of 18
    palegolaspalegolas Posts: 1,289member
    Okay, here nor there.  Did you try connecting an external hard drive that is USB 3.0 to the camera kit adapter to see if it could recognize media on it? 
    I think this is prohibited by Apple's guidelines... in their crusade towards wirelessness.
  • Reply 11 of 18
    I was unable to get my 'big' iPad Pro to recognize any of my USB Drives: SSD or HDD.  SD Card Reader worked if there were 'supported' doc types. Suffice to say, this adapter is not intended to support USB Mass Storage Devices for generic file storage. As noted by dreyfus2, I also connected to my network using the USB to Ethernet adapter.  I was also perplexed by the lack of Network Configuration services - but, it did just connect and the only indication of a connection is that the Wi-Fi icon disappears and you are left with just the 'iPad' name.  If you had Wi-Fi turned off prior to plugging in the Ethernet, you would not really know what the heck is going on if there was no data flowing.

    I didn't really expect Apple to change it's philosophy re: File Systems but thought I give it a try anyway.  
    edited March 2016
  • Reply 12 of 18
    Has anyone tested this cable on an iPhone 6s? Does it allow for Ethernet connection solely for iPads? What other types of usb accessories could this connect with? I'm very curious as this could open up a lot of use cases if this works for all iOS devices. (Old iPhone could be connected to Ethernet and become always on dropcam like device for cheap)
  • Reply 13 of 18
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,027member
    Going forward, Apple can standardize and replace all power adapter shipped with iphone/ipad/ipof inside box with USB-C instead of just typical USB 2.0. If industry is moving towards(standardization) USB type C than what’s point of hanging on to older power adapter USB 2,0 or 3.0. I would say Apple should make such change from iphone 7 if not early and ship USB-C to lightening cable with adapter.This can help use adapter with other phones coming out with usb-c connector. Help fill reduce less adapters in landfills.
    edited March 2016
  • Reply 14 of 18
    venti21 said:
    Has anyone tested this cable on an iPhone 6s? Does it allow for Ethernet connection solely for iPads? What other types of usb accessories could this connect with? I'm very curious as this could open up a lot of use cases if this works for all iOS devices. (Old iPhone could be connected to Ethernet and become always on dropcam like device for cheap)
    I tried this with the previous lightning to USB camera adapter (the old one without a female lightning power port), and it does work.  But you need a powered hub connected first, then the apple ethernet adapter (I am not sure if there are any third party adapters that will work other than the 10/100 Apple one).   This did work fine on the iPhone, but like it was said there are no settings for Ethernet in the OS.  So I guess you have to have DHCP running wherever you are trying it.
  • Reply 15 of 18
    Okay last one.  How does this work with the Air 2?  Will that support the Microphone for Podcasts or etc.
  • Reply 16 of 18
    Okay last one.  How does this work with the Air 2?  Will that support the Microphone for Podcasts or etc.
    As far as I can tell, the Air 2 has the same lightning port capability as the iPad Pro 9.7.  So it should work the same on the Air 2.
  • Reply 17 of 18
    Did anyone try to connect a Logitech presenter with this adapter? Would be great to be able to use the iPad for PowerPoint presentations without the need of touching the screen...
  • Reply 18 of 18
    Hi, bought the cable and was able to connect to a powered USB hub via the USB A connector. Connect to the hub was my keyboard, and printer. It recognized the keyboard immediately and it worked flawlessly. It also recognized the Canon E510 but since it does not have any support - printer was not connected. 


    My question is:
    1. Can we connect the USB C Hub (Powered) to the USB A port using a connector similar to this? Has anyone tried? 

    I am thinking of connecting a powered USB C Hub which has Ethernet, HDMI, and USB A ports. That way, I can use my Ipad Pro12.9 in the office with the wired keyboard, ethernet and display.  Do you think, it will work? Coz - based on the information I read - that the Ethernet (Realtek) does not need drivers? Alternatively, can you connect Apple's USB-C Digital AV Multi Port adaptor? 



    https://www.amazon.com/Goliton-Female-Adapter-Macbook-Tablet/dp/B01C43FUIW/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1498992055&sr=8-2&keywords=usb+c+female+to+usb+3.0+male


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