The new iPad Pro interface will be greatly changed, and the Magic Keyboard will also be updated

Returning the Mac to "practicality" is the change that Apple has made to Apple computers after entering the M-chip era.

Even with the M1 series chips with an excellent energy efficiency ratio, when Apple designs the new MacBook Pro and Mac Studio, it still starts from the needs of Pro-level people and increases the priority of the internal Pro Workflow team .

As a result, we saw a Pro-level Mac with a stronger active cooling system and cooling space.

At the same time, since it no longer insists on being "thin and light", Apple has also optimized the rather criticized butterfly keyboard, TouchBar and rare interface forms, making the MacBook Pro become a productivity tool again, not a "artwork".

Quietly, the MacBook Pro 14 has become Apple's most cost-effective Mac, none of which, and even the follow-up M2 chip products have failed to shake its position.

▲ The main focus is the thin and light MacBook Air, not performance

In some ways, the new MacBook Pro may not be as thin and light as the MacBook Air, and it may not have the performance of the Mac Studio, but it's undeniably the "most comprehensive" option right now.

Such a trend may also very likely continue to the iPad Pro product line.

The current iPad Pro has a short board

After Apple announced iPadOS 16, it began to align with macOS in function, and began to distance itself from iOS, as if iPadOS was a mobile system differentiated from macOS.

▲ The horizontal screen represents the Pro-level scene

At the same time, iPadOS 16 also emphasizes "horizontal screen" operation, whether it is used independently or connected to an external keyboard, or even under "full firepower" with a large-screen display.

The importance of "pre-stage scheduling" to the iPad Pro is far more important than that of the MacBook Pro. With this feature, iPad Pro is close to a "personal computer", rather than half productivity and half iQiyi.

In our previous experience, with iPadOS 16, iPad Pro is enough to replace our traditional Mac workflow, and iPadOS has a bit of unlimited potential.

However, it is the USB-C interface that restricts the iPad Pro from playing a stronger "productivity" role.

This does not refer to the interface shape and the speed of the interface. On the contrary, the iPad Pro is already equipped with the Thunderbolt 4 interface, which is the highest specification of Apple products.

Rather, the iPad Pro has too few ports, and like many smartphones, it only offers a single USB-C port.

Even though Thunderbolt 4 has considerable bandwidth and can integrate many needs, for the Pro level, a single interface really limits the tool attributes of the iPad Pro.

In fact, as the iPad Pro becomes more and more inclined to productivity tools, Apple has also begun to make up for the number of interfaces.

In addition to the universal interface such as USB-C (Lightning), the iPad Pro has been designed with a "three-pin smart connector" on its body since the first generation to facilitate an external smart keyboard.

The types of "smart keyboards" have also been gradually expanded to three, smart keyboards, keyboard-type smart double-sided clips, and magic keyboards.

Among them, the Magic Keyboard adds a USB-C interface to the hinge, and uses the "three-pin smart connector" between the body and the keyboard to charge the iPad Pro, so that the Thunderbolt 4 on the body can be used for expansion.

However, the three-pin smart connector is only designed for connecting to a keyboard, and perhaps because of bandwidth issues, it cannot be used for data transfer and fast charging.

The three-pin smart connector can be said to be more "closed" than the Lightning interface, and its scalability is self-evident.

Three stitches become four stitches, one becomes two

According to the conventional thinking, adding a Thunderbolt interface to the iPad Pro can be reversed, but the future interface configuration of the iPad Pro and the second generation of the Magic Keyboard have their own "plans".

For scalability, according to reliable supply chain sources , Macotakara said that the new iPad Pro series will not change the design style, but will upgrade the "three-pin smart connector" to "four-pin smart connector", and the number will increase by one , set at the top and bottom edges, respectively.

"Three-pin" to "four-pin" basically expands the bandwidth of the original connection, and it is not ruled out that it will increase the speed. And the increased number will most likely bring new accessories and new features to the iPad Pro.

Previously, in order to ensure expansion, Apple was rumored to be considering the introduction of MagSafe magnetic charging for the iPad Pro.

At that time, more people believed that the MagSafe on the iPad Pro would be similar to the iPhone, existing in a fixed area on the back and compatible with the current MagSafe charger.

However, combined with Macotakara's report, in fact, the MagSafe on the iPad Pro may be more similar to the similar charging form on the MacBook Pro. MagSafe and Thunderbolt are two-pronged.

And the four-pin connector on the back cover will not only bring fast charging to the iPad Pro itself, but also power the peripherals connected to the iPad Pro.

To that end, iPadOS 16 also allows device makers to create drivers for the iPad by adding DriverKit.

The new "four-pin smart connector" is different from common interfaces (such as USB-C), it will still be exclusive to the iPad Pro, and it needs to be used with additional official accessories.

As early as April of this year, Apple also obtained a patent for the next-generation Magic Keyboard and announced it accordingly. It can be seen from the patent image that the biggest change of the new generation of Magic Keyboard may be the folding form and the storage space for Apple Pencil.

Now, after the second control keyboard of the iPad Pro is opened, there is only one angle and notebook shape, which is slightly single.

The keyboard in the patent adds a "drawing board mode", which can provide the shape of a drawing board without disassembling it.

▲ Surface Laptop Studio

In fact, these two forms are very close to the "three-in-one" form of Microsoft's Surface Laptop Studio.

More forms of the new Magic Keyboard, as well as the more expandable iPad Pro, and with iPadOS 16, the iPad Pro has a brighter future.

Does it really work?

With richer interfaces and more powerful iPadOS, in theory, the iPad Pro is also becoming "practical".

But unlike the MacBook Pro, the extra four-pin smart connector is not a universal interface, and Apple has no plans to open the protocol.

In addition, the reliability of the similar magnetic pin contact interface is still questionable. The original iPad Pro, and the current Magic Keyboard, have poor contact.

Extending connectivity by adding contacts is indeed easy to achieve, but for a Pro device, still using a less reliable interface is rather unprofessional.

After adding the contact interface, it is difficult for the old accessories to be compatible with the new device. It is very similar to the iPad Pro. After the design is replaced, the contact position is also changed, and the official keyboard must be re-purchased.

After the change, old accessories, old keyboards, etc. are also likely to cause corresponding "environmental protection" problems.

The reason why the configuration of the new MacBook Pro has become very "practical" is that the main changes are the diversification and versatility of the interface. From SD card slot to HDMI, a variety of common interfaces are configured, and MagSafe 3 and Thunderbolt 4 can be used. fast charging.

▲ Picture from: The Verge

But when it comes to the iPad Pro, if it is consistent with the rumors, the introduction of the "four-pin smart connector" is only to improve the current needs, rather than a comprehensive consideration for the future.

For the new iPad Pro, if you want to become more practical, you can actually add a USB-C to the body.

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