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The iPad Pro Is Gaining a Crucial PC-Like Feature

January 28, 2016, 4:06 PM UTC
Apple's iPad Pro with Smart Keyboard.
Photo by Jason Cipriani

A few weeks ago Apple announced a new version of its mobile operating system, iOS 9.3. Included in the update are improvements for education users, the ability to password protect notes in the Notes app, and a new mode designed to make viewing your device’s screen at night easier on your eyes.

Apple (APPL) made the upcoming update available to developers and public beta testers shortly after it was announced, and users are starting to find unannounced features.

Most notably, one newly discovered feature builds on the iPad Pro’s credibility as a PC replacement: It appears the iPad Pro will gain the ability to update the firmware of connected accessories, a task traditionally better suited for a Mac or PC.

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As 9to5Mac reported, a developer noticed the new feature after connecting Logitech’s Create keyboard to his iPad Pro running the second beta of iOS 9.3.

Logitech’s keyboard uses Apple’s Smart Connector to interact with the iPad Pro. The small connector provides a continuous connection and power to the keyboard, eliminating the need for Logitech to include a battery and Bluetooth functionality in the keyboard.

For more, watch:

Upon connecting the Logitech Create to an iPad Pro running the latest public beta of iOS 9.3 this morning, I was immediately alerted to an available update for a “Smart Connector Accessory.” Following the prompts, the update took under a minute to complete. Unfortunately I have no idea what was changed or improved, as the alert did not contain any form of release notes or a change log.

For more, read: Is Apple’s iPad Pro a PC Replacement?

When Apple announced the iPad Pro, it did so with a narrative of the plus-sized tablet being a suitable PC replacement for some users. Indeed, it proved to be a capable device, but it still lacked features such as the ability to update devices users rely on—such as a keyboard.

By adding the ability to update accessories and products without the need for a computer, Apple is checking yet another box in a bid to convince users the iPad Pro is a true computer replacement.