Apple iPad Pro is coming with USB, Keyboard & Mouse Support?

More details about the oft-rumored 12.9 inch iPad Pro are beginning to surface, and they include things like USB 3.0, mouse and keyboard connectivity, and faster charging technology, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal late Wednesday evening. This report, along with an earlier one from Bloomberg, attempts to add definition to the mysterious project.

According to both reports, the iPad Pro’s production start date has been pushed back beyond what Apple had initially hoped. The Bloomberg report states that Apple is looking towards September for the start of production, while the Journal more vaguely states that production will ramp up in second half of this year.

Although the speculation of delayed production dates are an echo to Wednesday’s earlier rumors, new details about what the iPad Pro may feature, and who it will be geared towards, certainly stir the pot. According the the Wall Street Journal’s sources, people familiar with the iPad Pro’s design state that Apple is working on the following:

  • USB 3.0 connectivity for faster transfer speeds and greater peripheral access
  • “Ports” for a mouse and keyboard
  • Faster charging technology

While the USB ports may be a possibility, the idea of including ports for a mouse/keyboard combination strikes me as a bit odd. Perhaps the source meant a port for a dock that includes a keyboard/trackpad combination, or something of the like. Sort of like what we see Microsoft doing with its Surface line.

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The idea of USB connectivity makes sense for enterprise customers, something the report states that this product is being geared towards, and for power users. For example, one could theoretically connect fast external hard drives, audio interfaces, and other unique peripherals that require USB.

Faster charging would be a welcomed addition, as when compared to the iPhone, the iPad is significantly slower when it comes to charging it from 0 to 100%. A device with the Pro’s rumored 12.9 inch form-factor would be more voluminous from a battery perspective, and thus would take even longer to charge than the iPad hardware we have today.

Of course, the report was subjected to the following statement:

Apple, which works with suppliers to test new technology and designs all the time, could opt not to proceed with some of the features when it starts mass producing the device later.

This means that only one, two, or perhaps none of the rumors may actually materialize on the schematics that hit production lines when manufacturing begins. But, if these rumors are true, then the iPad Pro would be the first iOS device to sport a USB port. It would also be the first iOS device to support a mouse.

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