A few days ago I opined that a power application like Final Cut Pro X would only make sense on the iPad Pro if Apple did away with the Lightning port in favor of USB-C. Well, that day has arrived, but we may not be quite there yet. Jason Snell at Six Colors loves the new iPad Pro, but he does raise this good point:
Which brings us to USB-C. The iPad Pro is the first iOS device to ditch Lightning for the port standard favored by computers. This is another sign that the iPad Pro is really embracing being a computer—but the sad fact is, it’s hamstrung by iOS itself. The hardware is willing, but the software is weak. iOS’s support for USB devices is sorely limited. It will import photos and videos from cameras and memory cards. You can hook up a keyboard or an Ethernet adapter or a microphone or audio mixer. And I assume the iPad Pro will be able to power a much wider array of devices than could have been powered by the USB 3 Lightning Adapter without a power assist.
But plug in a hard drive or flash drive and you can’t view the files in the Files app. Plug in a USB webcam and I assume nothing happens? There’s more to be done here. On a standard computer we have an expectation of what happens when we plug in a USB device. iOS has holes. Maybe the existence of USB on iPad will finally prompt Apple to prioritize better USB device support in future versions of iOS.
I’m keeping the dream of touch-based FCPX alive for now. Connecting fast RAID storage to something as powerful as the new 12.9″ iPad Pro would truly blur the lines between Mac and iPad. iOS, for better or for worse, feels like the future of computing for most people.