There’s a big chance we’ll see a new 2022 iPad Pro before the end of the year, but the main ‘upgrade’ might not be the display or chipset. Instead, it could be for the connectors, with the current three-pin Smart Connector possibly being replaced with a pair of four-pin connectors.
This according to “Reliable Sources in China”, speaking to Macotakara (opens in new tab)in a report discovered by 9to5Mac (opens in new tab). Apparently, the upcoming iPad Pro 11 (2022) and iPad Pro 12.9 (2022) will have the same housing designs as the current models, but with 4-pin connectors on the “top and bottom side edges”.
This text is a bit ambiguous, especially since this isn’t primarily an English site, so we’re not sure if they mean the upper and lower back when held in portrait or when held in landscape, but it sounds like one or the other.
The report also doesn’t specifically state whether these new connectors would be instead of or as good as the existing three-pin smart connector, but we imagine they would be used instead. Otherwise, that’s a bunch of connectors.
We’d take that with a pinch of salt, though, as it’s an odd statement, especially when we’ve previously heard that the iPad Pro 2022 can support MagSafe – which might seem like overkill if there are also two smart connectors. And with the MagSafe using a five-pin connector, that’s not what they’re talking about here.
What the extra pin could be used for is also unclear, although the report speculates that it could be used to assist in powering peripherals. The existing Smart Connector already does this, however it may mean that more power can be supplied.
We’re also not sure how useful it would be to have two of these connectors, as they’re mostly just keyboards that use the current Smart Connector, so there aren’t many use cases where two accessories could be useful attached at the same time – unless the Apple has new types of accessories planned.
This rumor actually raises more questions than it answers and so we would refrain from putting too much weight behind it, but it is certainly intriguing. Although it comes with a very big potential downside.
Analysis: Old accessories may be incompatible
The biggest potential problem with this change is that it could make accessories – like the current Smart Keyboard and Magic Keyboard – incompatible with the new iPad Pro.
That’s something you’d expect to happen when sizes change, but with these upcoming models being the same as their predecessors, it would be a shame if entirely new accessories were needed – especially considering how expensive these peripherals can be.
Of course, even if this rumor is right – which is a big ‘if’ – it doesn’t guarantee that current Smart Connector accessories won’t work. They may remain compatible with this new four-pin version, or perhaps the old three-pin connector will remain as well, but incompatibility is definitely a concern.
With rumors that Apple is also switching from Lightning to USB-C on the iPhone, perhaps as early as next year, we could see Apple fans having to replace almost all of their accessories within the space of a year, assuming both rumors come true. come true. So this can be an even more expensive period for iDevice users than usual.
Still, many of the best iPads aren’t iPad Pros, which means you can always save money by upgrading to a cheaper model.