iPad Pro Lightning Port Is USB 3 Speed

Update, Nov. 12, 2015: I just confirmed with a source at Apple that there are forthcoming adapters that take advantage of the USB 3 speeds, but they aren’t yet confirming when they will ship. That’s bare-bones Apple-ese for “Yep, and you’ll find out more when we’re ready.”

As iPad Pro units are now shipping, people are discovering the USB 3 hardware and testing copy speeds between the iPad Pro and computers.

Original post, Sep. 11, 2015:

I learned a little tidbit from a source today: the Lightning port on the upcoming iPad Pro will transfer data at USB 3 speeds, faster than current iPads. 

That’s potentially good news for photographers and videographers who import images and video clips from SD cards or cameras directly to the iPad for editing and reviewing. I don’t know offhand if the existing Lightning camera adapters will also support that speed or if new adapters will be required. But it’s a welcome change for those of us who have spent many many minutes waiting for media to transfer before we can act on it.

I can’t wait to learn more details as we get closer to the November release date.

Related: I’m running a survey to see how photographers are using the iPad in their workflows. It takes just a couple of minutes, and you could win a bundle of three of my latest books. Click here to take the survey.

The iPad for Photographers survey results are here.

If you like the work I do, please consider signing up for my low-volume newsletter that I use to announce new projects, items, and giveaways that I think my readers would be interested in.

Survey Results: The State of the iPad for Photographers 2015


I started September with a question: How are people using the iPad with their photography? Is it really an invaluable addition to one’s camera bag, or is it an occasionally useful item? Is it even being used at all? Sales of iPads have been steadily dropping over the past couple of years, though I think that has more to do with the fact that people aren’t buying new iPads at the same rate as new iPhones. (Any company would kill for even Apple’s “low” sales numbers of iPads, but that’s a rant for another day.)

In 2011, I saw the potential of the iPad as a photographer’s tool and wrote the first edition of The iPad for Photographers, which detailed how you could review photos you capture using other cameras (at the time, the iPad 2 had only just come out, the first model to include an admittedly terrible camera), apply metadata to them to streamline the tagging process, and of course edit and share them—all without using a desktop or laptop computer. I published, in cooperation with my friends at Peachpit Press, two subsequent editions of the book.

So how are you using the iPad in 2015? I created a survey to find out, and the results are in some ways unexpected and other ways surprising. I encourage you to view the full results, but here’s the short version:

  • Most people who import photos to the iPad do so using the wired Camera Connection Kit (older iPads) or Lightning SD Card or USB adapters. Almost as many sync via iCloud, Lightroom mobile, Google Photos, or some other cloud service. The number of folks transferring photos directly from a camera’s built-in Wi-Fi feature was about half of those others, but considering how long it’s taken companies to implement Wi-Fi into cameras, the number is larger than I expected.
  • People rarely assign ratings or favorites to elevate the good photos from the not-so-good. I suspect this is because the process of importing photos onto the iPad is still time-consuming.
  • Most people don’t bother with any additional metadata. The fact that the apps designed for doing so (such as Photosmith and PhotosInfoPro) have all gone dormant bears this out.
  • More effort seems to be going into editing photos, and of the tools available, Snapseed is the leader, followed by Lightroom mobile and Apple’s built-in Photos app.
  • Surprisingly, the iPad Air 2 was the most-used model—the latest model available at the time the survey was posted. I expected that there would be a broader spread of older models. Of those, a little more than half were Wi-Fi–only models. The 64 GB configuration is the sweet spot in terms of storage.

A quick but important caveat: The survey attracted just 132 responses, which is less than I hoped, but it at least provides a window into the preferences of those who chose to take the survey.


The iPad is strong on editing, but the effort needed to get to that point is greater than it should be. That means using an iPad as a field companion—appealing especially for people who don’t want to tote a laptop along—is possible, but it’s hampered by slow ingest and limited storage. Perhaps the iPad Pro, which will offer USB 3 speeds through its Lightning port, may improve this.

I’m not too surprised that the Cloud has turned into a preferred method of moving photos onto the iPad, although of course the usefulness depends entirely on your current Internet connection—likely fine when you’re at home on the couch, but not so great in remote locations.

And, lastly, no one is using the iPad to apply metadata. This is the top request I hear from professional photographers, but I don’t think most regular people are doing it. Perhaps services like Google Photos, which comes up with its own metadata based on automated visual searches of photos, is the future here. I still believe that metadata is a powerful thing for photos, regardless of your photo skill level or interest; in my book Take Control of Your Digital Photos on a Mac, Second Edition, I present a painless way to do it on the Mac.

The big question as I write this is how, or if, the iPad Pro will affect the field. Apple still hasn’t implemented any type of raw format support into iOS, which reduces the Pro’s appeal for many photographers in terms of editing, although perhaps the iPad Pro will be fast and powerful enough to run an app such as PiRAWhna smoothly. We’ll have to see.

The survey results appear below. Thank you to everyone who took the time to take the survey and share their comments!













If you like the work I do, please consider signing up for my low-volume newsletter that I use to announce new projects, items, and giveaways that I think my readers would be interested in.

Official EyeFi CF Card Adapter

Cf adapter

One of the questions I’ve fielded often since the first edition of The iPad for Photographers is: How can I use an EyeFi card with a camera that takes only CF (Compact Flash) cards? All EyeFi cards are the smaller SD (Secure Digital) format, but some cameras—mostly professional bodies—use the larger CF size.

SD to CF adapters are available on Amazon and other outlets, but the reviews I’ve seen have always been spotty. Most adapters limit the range that the EyeFi’s Wi-Fi network creates.

Now, EyeFi has created its own adapter with a case made entirely of plastic to not blunt the Wi-Fi signal. EyeFi has more information and a list of supported cameras at its site: Eyefi certified CF Type II Adapter for Eyefi Mobi. The adapter costs $20.

Apple Watch: A Take Control Crash Course

Apple watch cc mailhead

In the time since Apple introduced the Apple Watch in September, I’ve fielded two questions many times: “Should I buy one?” and “Which one should I get?”

Now I’m excited to announce that I’ve written a book that helps answer those questions and plenty more: Apple Watch: A Take Control Crash Course.

But wait, the Apple Watch doesn’t come out until April 24. What magic is this?

Apple watch cc cover shadowIt’s electronic publishing! Currently the book includes 23 pages of information based on everything we know about the watch, including a chapter that looks at competing devices to help you figure out if an Apple Watch is the right choice. I cover the watch’s strengths and weaknesses, how we’re likely to use it in day-to-day life, and the ways we’ll interact with it.

But when you buy the book now, you’re also buying the full, in-depth version that will arrive in May after I’ve had time to actually use the Apple Watch for more than a few minutes.

The ebook costs $10, but this early-edition version is currently 50% off. That’s just $5 for the ebook now as well as the entire future edition, or just 0.05% the cost of the entry-level Apple Watch Edition! And you don’t have to wait until April 24 to get it.

Apple Watch: A Take Control Crash Course is available as a PDF, an EPUB, and a Mobi file, so you can read it on any device, from Mac to iPad to Kindle.

If you like the work I do, please consider signing up for my low-volume newsletter that I use to announce new projects, items, and giveaways that I think my readers would be interested in.

Review: WD My Passport Wireless Hard Drive

WdfMP Wireless

Ever since I started writing the first edition of The iPad for Photographers, one aspect of the process has been a sticking point: image backup. I know, that sounds like the most boring part of being a photographer, but it’s also vitally important.

Importing photos onto the iPad for review is one option, but it takes up valuable storage (and digital camera files aren’t getting any smaller). That also means you have just one set of image files, unless you use the SD memory cards you originally captured the photos onto as backup (which is also a good idea).

A number of companies have made hard disks that incorporate Wi-Fi radios, primarily as a means of storing lots of media (movies, mostly) and stream them to the iPad and not take up the device’s storage. The Seagate Wireless Plus also added the ability to copy photos from the iPad to the drive, but its implementation is pretty basic and time-consuming: You need to import photos to the iPad, and then copy them to the drive.

All this is lead-up to a new product that makes the whole problem less thorny. The WD My Passport Wireless is a portable, battery-powered hard disk that adds one crucial element: an SD card reader. With this addition, you can dump the contents of a memory card while you’re shooting with another card, then connect to the drive on your iPad and review your work.

The drive is available in two configurations: 1 TB for $175 and 2 TB for $219. (Those are the current prices at Amazon as I write this; clicking either link earns me an affiliate percentage and helps support the work I do.)

My full review at is here: Review: My Passport Wireless for the Traveling Photographer.

If you like the work I do, please consider signing up for my low-volume newsletter that I use to announce new projects, items, and giveaways that I think my readers would be interested in.

iPad Air 2 Packs a Lot of Photo Power

Ipad air 2 head

Apple announced the iPad Air 2 today, available for order starting on October 17 and shipping soon after. It’s even thinner than the iPad Air and, finally, incorporates a Touch ID sensor.

In Apple’s keynote announcing it (along with a beautiful new Retina 5K iMac and the shipping of OS X Yosemite), the iPad Air 2’s new cameras and photo capabilities occupied probably half of the time allotted for the device. (Start watching the video at 45:40.) I’m glad to see Apple acknowledge that, yes, people use their iPads to capture photos.

You can read all about the cameras at Apple’s site.

Free Web Presentation July 15, Ebook Deal of the Week

iPad for Photographers Third EditionThis Tuesday, July 15, join me online for a free Peachpit Photo Club Web presentation about The iPad for Photographers. The video event kicks off at 5 p.m. PST (8 p.m. EST), when I’ll be talking about options for using the iPad in the field, and working with Lightroom mobile, Photosmith, and other apps. Although the video should be available later, I encourage you to watch it live if possible so you can ask questions

Coinciding with the presentation, Peachpit has named the new, iPad for Photographers Third Edition its Ebook of the Week, pricing it at just $9.99 (50% off)! That includes PDF, EPUB, and Mobi (Kindle) formats—perfect to have as a reference on your iPad during photo excursions.

Not sure if the book is for you (or for someone who’d enjoy it as a gift)? Peachpit also put up a free chapter to sample.

TriggerTrap Mobile Review at Macworld

Looking for a way to trip your DSLR’s shutter that’s more advanced than your fingers? TriggerTrap Mobile is an iOS app that controls the camera in numerous creative ways from an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. I reviewed it for Macworld: TriggerTrap Mobile review: control your camera’ shutter with your iOS device


New Article: Kinsgston MobileLite Wireless Review

Kensington mobilelite wireless 100312049 large

Is the storage on your iPad or iPhone filling up? At Macworld, I reviewed the Kingston MobileLite Wireless, a small device that stores media files on SD or micro SD cards and streams them via Wi-Fi to any iOS device. It can also charge your iPhone in a pinch! Read all about it: Kingston MobileLite Wireless review: SD card reader for your iPad or iPhone.