Next-Generation iPad Pro to Feature Mysterious New Connector

Rumors suggest that the next-generation iPad Pro will feature two all-new connectors, but the exact purpose of these new ports is as yet unknown.

iPad Pro USB C Feature Purple Cyan 1
Citing "reliable sources in China," a recent report from Mac Otakara claims that the upcoming 11-inch and 12.9-inch ‌iPad Pro‌ models will feature the same chassis design as the current ‌iPad Pro‌ models but with at least one noticeable change: A new type of connector on the top and bottom sides of the device.

The connectors are said to feature four pins. This appears to distinguish them from the Smart Connector, which has three pins and is used to connect accessories such as the Magic Keyboard, and the MagSafe 3 connector, which has five pins and is used for more convenient charging on Mac laptops. As a result, this appears to be a totally new kind of interface.

‌Mac Otakara‌ suggests that the new connectors may be used to help power peripherals connected to the Thunderbolt port, leveraging the new DriverKit support in iPadOS 16, but it is otherwise unclear what the connectors are for or why there would need to be two of them on different sides of the device.

Apple introduced the ‌Smart Connector‌ to connect periperals when it debuted the ‌iPad Pro‌ in 2015, before adding a USB-C port in 2018, and a Thunderbolt port thanks to the M1 chip's Thunderbolt controller in 2021. As such, it seems likely that further improvements to the ‌iPad Pro‌'s connectivity are highly likely, but the specific nature of the new ports remain a mystery.

This year's new ‌iPad Pro‌ models are expected to feature MagSafe wireless charging capabilities, upgraded cameras, and the M2 chip. The devices are expected to be unveiled around September or October, but October may be more likely due to iPadOS 16 being slightly delayed.

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