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Apple Quietly Updated A Key Accessory for Photo, Video Lovers

December 8, 2015, 7:59 PM UTC
Apple's iPad Pro with Smart Keyboard.
Photo by Jason Cipriani

Apple has quietly updated its Lightning adapter for transferring photos and videos stored on SD cardsto iPhones and iPads.

The small adapter was last updated in 2012 when Apple moved away from its older 30-pin connector to its proprietary Lighting version.

The latest is a seemingly insignificant update, until you read the fine print. As iDownloadBlog first uncovered, the revamped adapter is now equipped with USB 3 technology that allows for transferring data 10 times faster than USB 2. The new adapter is the first accessory Apple has updated with USB 3 technology.

Additionally, the connector will now work with iPhones for the first time.

In announcing the iPad Pro in September, Apple made no mention of the upgrade to the tablet’s Lightning port. It wasn’t until the first reviews, and iFixit’s tear down of the device that anyone realized the new USB 3 functionality in the iPad Pro.

The iPad Pro is the only iOS device currently equipped with a USB 3 compatible Lightning port, however the adapter will still work with other iOS devices, just at the slower USB 2 transfer speeds.

As the quality of photos and videos continue to increase, so do file sizes. Adding the ability to speed up the transfer of large files, especially as 4K video becomes more popular, is a critical to marketing the iPad Pro to professional users who would use it for photo and video editing. Apple’s latest iPhone is capable of recording 4K video, with an estimated 375 MB of storage used for every minute of the ultra high-definition video it records.

For Apple’s marketing of the iPad Pro as a PC replacement to work, the device needs to function more like a computer than a tablet. Making it easier for users to transfer content to the device is one way of doing that.

While the first adapter Apple (“AAPL”) updated with USB 3 compatibility is limited to photos and videos, USB 3 is also capable of increasing charging speeds. But we’ve yet to learn whether Apple will create an adapter with this functionality.

Apple has yet to update its Lighting to USB camera adapter with the new technology, but one has to assume it won’t be far behind.

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To learn more about Apple’s iPad Pro announcement, watch this Fortune video: