Apple highlights iPad Pro's USB-C connectivity to an external 4K or 5K display

Posted:
in iOS edited October 2018
The change to new connector means you can connect an 5K high resolution monitor directly to your iPad alongside cameras, musical instruments and other peripherals.

Woman using an external monitor connected to an iPad Pro


Apple's new iPad Pro models come with edge to edge 11-inch and 12.9-inch screens but those aren't the only displays you can use them with. Each of the models can now simultaneously drive an external high-resolution display of up to 5K.

"A high-performance computer deserves a high-performance connector and so with these new iPad Pros, we're moving to USB-C," announced Apple's vice president of hardware engineering, John Ternus, at the company's October 30 event. "This brings a whole new set of capabilities to the iPad Pro like connecting to accessories that change how you use your iPad: cameras, musical instruments or even docks. Or connecting to high resolution external displays up to 5K."

He also said that the iPad Pro could "connect to data accessories and displays at the same time."

Detail from Apple's website about USB-C on iPad Pro


Apple says that the new USB-C connector, which replaces the previous Lightning one, supports a 5K monitor plus USB 3.1 Gen 2 high-bandwidth data transfers. The USB-C "alternate mode" protocol supports DisplayPort 1.3, which allows for 5120 x 2880 resolutions on monitors that will support it -- but those are few and far between at the moment. The LG UltraFine 5K display uses Thunderbolt 3 and not USB 3.1 type C, so as such, it cannot be used at 5K resolutions with the iPad Pro.

Both the iPad Pro 11 inch and 12.9 inch models are now available to order from $799 and $999 respectively. The iPad Pro models do not ship with USB-C display connector cables, but an Apple spokesperson at the Apple event says that it complies with USB-C "alternate modes" allowing for any USB-C to HDMI or USB-C to DisplayPort cable to be used for connectivity.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    JFC_PAJFC_PA Posts: 287member
    Camera connectivity could be interesting. Get an in the field up to terabyte backup? Hmmm
    racerhomie3watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 25
    Could that work in reverse, allowing an iPad Pro to be used as an external display for a Mac (or even another iPad Pro?)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 25
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,192administrator
    leeatmg said:
    Could that work in reverse, allowing an iPad Pro to be used as an external display for a Mac (or even another iPad Pro?)
    In theory, but not today.
    edited October 2018 leeatmgwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 25
    It's important to note that Apple already has USB-C to HDMI and USB-C to VGA adapters that also allow for simultanious charging of the connected device as well as USB-A connectivity.  Now, these adapters where released for the MacBook and MacBook Pro, but they would conceivably work with the new iPad Pros shown today.  Of couse the USB-C to USB-A adapter would allow you to connect any older digital camera and some new cameras have a USB-C connector in them so direct USB-C to USB-C could be an ultra high speed way to get photos and video from a camera to an iPad Pro and into something like Photoshop CC.
    chiawatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 25
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,956member
    Do these connections supply power? Audio output?
  • Reply 6 of 25
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,806member
    Here goes iPad to USB-C, there goes 2019 iPhones to USB-C
  • Reply 7 of 25
    harrykatsarosharrykatsaros Posts: 17unconfirmed, member
    dysamoria said:
    Do these connections supply power? Audio output?
    Yes to both.
    socalbrian
  • Reply 8 of 25
    leeatmg said:
    Could that work in reverse, allowing an iPad Pro to be used as an external display for a Mac (or even another iPad Pro?)
    If you want to do that, there is already an App that lets you. I've used my 12.9 as an external wired monitor to my Macbook Pro for years. Check out "duet" in the App Store.
    socalbriancrossladwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 25
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,192administrator
    dysamoria said:
    Do these connections supply power? Audio output?
    Yes to both.
    They can, yes, with a native USB-C connection. Bog-standard USB-C to HDMI or DisplayPort won't, though. Depends model to model of monitor.
    edited October 2018
  • Reply 10 of 25
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,690member
    dysamoria said:
    Do these connections supply power? Audio output?
    Yes to both.
    They can, yes, with a native USB-C connection. Bog-standard USB-C to HDMI or DisplayPort won't, though. Depends model to model of monitor.
    Hi Mike.  

    I would expect that AppleInsider will have an in-depth review of these new iPads as the are a bigger upgrade than I was expecting.  Probably bigger than most where expecting.    In any event I hope you can spend some time diving into the USB-C port.  My biggest fear is that devices will need an Apple “chip” or ID like hardware from the MiFi program.  The types of drivers included with these iPads are also of interest.  

    What it it comes down to is this: as a hardware hacker will I be able to freely connect to things like the various Arduino cards.    I know many will not care but iPad could really morph into something wonderful for the maker community.    All it really needs is a way talk to the massive amounts of hardware out there that makes up the embedded world.  

    By by the way I’m think field use here of the iPad for software upgrades, data collection and hardware installations.   With some well designed software IPad could really excel in the maker and embedded worlds.  Not to mention controls engineering.  It does require a change of heart from Apple though.  
  • Reply 11 of 25
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,365member
    leeatmg said:
    Could that work in reverse, allowing an iPad Pro to be used as an external display for a Mac (or even another iPad Pro?)
    In theory, but not today.
    What I’m wondering about is whether Apple has now allowed standard mass storage protocols that usb uses. I’d just love to replace my old Macbook Pro with a new iPad Pro 12.9” as my music server. If I could connect my music content drive and my backup drive for it to the iPad Pro 12.9” with an Apple keyboard, I’d be thrilled. The Qobuz software I’m using for hi Rez streaming works on iOS, so that part is fine.
    chiawatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 25

    So how exactly will connecting an external display to your iPad work ?  Presumably the external display will not be touch enabled, so how do I move the cursor around or select something on the external monitor?  Will the external display be a mirror of the iPad screen, or will it extend the iPad screen?  When I am looking at my iPads home screen, will I see additional icons on the external display?
    taddtaddchiawatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 25
    leeatmg said:
    Could that work in reverse, allowing an iPad Pro to be used as an external display for a Mac (or even another iPad Pro?)
    Considering target display mode has not been used in Macs for a couple of years, unfortunately no and I don't think it will be added in the near future, but here's to hoping.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 25
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,192administrator
    melgross said:
    leeatmg said:
    Could that work in reverse, allowing an iPad Pro to be used as an external display for a Mac (or even another iPad Pro?)
    In theory, but not today.
    What I’m wondering about is whether Apple has now allowed standard mass storage protocols that usb uses. I’d just love to replace my old Macbook Pro with a new iPad Pro 12.9” as my music server. If I could connect my music content drive and my backup drive for it to the iPad Pro 12.9” with an Apple keyboard, I’d be thrilled. The Qobuz software I’m using for hi Rez streaming works on iOS, so that part is fine.
    I suspect not, but we'll try it. There are Network Attached Storage units that are compatible with Apple's Files on iOS, though.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 25
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,365member
    melgross said:
    leeatmg said:
    Could that work in reverse, allowing an iPad Pro to be used as an external display for a Mac (or even another iPad Pro?)
    In theory, but not today.
    What I’m wondering about is whether Apple has now allowed standard mass storage protocols that usb uses. I’d just love to replace my old Macbook Pro with a new iPad Pro 12.9” as my music server. If I could connect my music content drive and my backup drive for it to the iPad Pro 12.9” with an Apple keyboard, I’d be thrilled. The Qobuz software I’m using for hi Rez streaming works on iOS, so that part is fine.
    I suspect not, but we'll try it. There are Network Attached Storage units that are compatible with Apple's Files on iOS, though.
    True. But using a NAS for one computer is overkill. I keep my music files on an external drive, and the backup, of course, is on another drive. A NAS doesn’t really serve the same purpose for both.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 25
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,365member

    urungus said:

    So how exactly will connecting an external display to your iPad work ?  Presumably the external display will not be touch enabled, so how do I move the cursor around or select something on the external monitor?  Will the external display be a mirror of the iPad screen, or will it extend the iPad screen?  When I am looking at my iPads home screen, will I see additional icons on the external display?
    From what I can tell, it’s a mirror.
  • Reply 17 of 25
    Can the new iPad Pro 2018 connect an external usb-c SSD ? It’s not clear for me....
  • Reply 18 of 25
    DryadGirlDryadGirl Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    Anyone know what external display she is using this that pic?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 25
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,192administrator
    Can the new iPad Pro 2018 connect an external usb-c SSD ? It’s not clear for me....
    No. There are some mass storage devices that work, though. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 25
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,192administrator

    DryadGirl said:
    Anyone know what external display she is using this that pic?
    That is the LG Ultrafine 5K. However, it would be running in 4K, as with a USB 3.1 type C connection, resolution is limited to the lower res. 5K is possible with a DisplayPort 1.3 display.
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