Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac:
The new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro features a USB-C port instead of a Lightning port. However, just because a device features a new port, it does not mean anything with a USB-C connector will suddenly work with the iPad Pro. There are still some limitations but USB-C makes it even easier to connect to external displays, cameras, and other accessories.
Here’s what you can do with your new iPad Pro and its shiny new port.
First things first, nice job by Benjamin Mayo laying all this out. Terrific read.
But I have to say, while I applaud USB-C’s reversibility (like a Lightning plug, there’s no upside down, no wrong way to plug it in) and ubiquity (a wave of adoption, making their way onto devices in the same way as USB-A), I struggle with the wildly different functionality offered by identical looking cables and ports.
Ben covers a few examples, but here’s another one:
Fun in USB-C land with the new iPad Pro and an UltraFine 4K display:— Federico Viticci (@viticci) November 8, 2018
The USB-C cable that comes in the box with the iPad Pro *cannot* mirror the iPad to the external display. It just charges it.
The USB-C cable that comes with the UltraFine supports 4K60 mirroring.
There’s no way to tell from just looking at a cable what functionality it supports. And while you might just try all the cables in your cable drawer until you find one that works, there might be trouble down that road as well. From this Gizmodo post, courtesy of Stefan Arentz:
All cables are not created equal: some will charge most efficiently, others might just fry your battery. Google Chromebook engineer and Caped Cable Crusader Benson Leung has been testing USB-C cables off Amazon, and it’s not just the no-brand products that have been failing.
I’ve had some personal experience with this, especially where USB-C dongles are concerned. Though all those USB-C ports look identical on the outside, some pass through power, others not as much, and some not at all. Yeesh.