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So, as you've likely heard by now, Apple revealed the newest version of its iPad Pro yesterday. They (mostly) got rid of the bezels, along with the home button, to make for a sleeker design. The other major change is the jump from a Lightning port to a USB-C iPad Pro. Yay... right? Well, that's only part of the story.

As Chaim Gartenberg of The Verge points out, the picture is a little more complicated than that. Actually, it's a lot more complicated than that.

While it does feel like a USB-C iPad Pro is a move in the right direction, it complicates the whole Donglegate situation even further. There's no 3.5mm headphone jack, so you'll need to use USB-C headphones (of which they are currently very few), Bluetooth headphones (or the AirPods), or the USB-C to 3.5mm adapter. That's one thing.

The other thing is that the new iPhone XS and iPhone XR still have the Lightning port. This means that you really have no way of using Lightning headphones with your USB-C iPad Pro. The accessories between the two families of iOS devices are no longer cross compatible. You can carry one set of regular 3.5mm headphones, but you need separate dongles for your iPhone XR and your USB-C iPad Pro.

"No problem," you might think to yourself. "My Macbook is all USB-C, so those accessories will all work with the new USB-C iPad Pro." Except that's not completely true either. The iPad Pro can't read any external storage devices (aside from SD cards for some reason), so you can't plug in your new USB-C flash drive to dump some files you're working on. Oh, and that USB-C port on your 12-inch Macbook? It's actually Thunderbolt 3.

So, you can connect your Macbook to a Thunderbolt 3 display, but you can't connect your USB-C iPad Pro to it, even though the actual connector looks the same. And then there are all those other peripherals like USB instruments and USB controllers that may or may not work with the USB-C iPad Pro. That all depends on how Apple feels about it and what it allows developers to support.


I imagine this will all converge again at some point down the line, but if you've got an iPhone XS, a new iPad Pro, and a Macbook, be prepared to really embrace that dongle life... and don't assume that everything will work with everything, because it probably won't.

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