come with a , an improvement in speed and peripheral capability from the USB-C port on previous models. The new port quadruples data transfer speed so customers can connect to external storage devices and big monitors, Apple said.
Thunderbolt is important for Apple's iPad Pro vision, which is to offer a device with much of the power and utility of traditional PCs like its own Macs. iPads start from a sleeker touchscreen foundation -- the "magical sheet of glass," as Apple likes to call it. Thunderbolt ports give that sheet of glass the ability to connect to lots of peripherals to better match what PCs can do.
The new iPad Pros are priced like PCs, too. The 11-inch model has a starting price of $799 (£749, AU$1,199); the 12.9-inch model starts at $1,099 (£999, AU$1,649). Preorders begin April 30, with shipments in the second half of May.
The new iPad Pro also now is powered byand is an "absolute powerhouse," Chief Executive Tim Cook said at Apple's Tuesday. That's the same chip it's using to overhaul its Mac family. The new iPad Pro models also get a wider-view webcam, Wi-Fi 6 networking, a 5G connectivity option and a new HDR display on the larger model.
At the event, Apple also announced, new and a .
Thunderbolt uses the USB-C port design, so existing USB-C devices should work fine with the Thunderbolt port. The new iPad Pro also works with Apple's existing snap-on keyboards.
Intel developed Thunderbolt, but Apple has been its biggest champion with support on all its Macs, and iPad Pro support helps. With Thunderbolt available on M1-based Macs, Apple had an easy option to add it to the M1 iPads, too.
iPhones and lower-end iPads still come with Apple's proprietary Lightning port, a move that preserves compatibility with the chargers Apple customers are likely to already own. But USB-C adds a much broader range of peripherals, including flash drives, monitors and hubs that connect to a range of other peripherals. Thunderbolt is like USB-C but reaches speeds of 40 gibabits per second; most USB-C ports reach only 10Gbps.