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.

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iPad Pro Reviews Roundup

IPadPro Pencil Lifestyle1

The iPad Pro is now officially available: order it from the Apple Store or use the Apple Store app, and possibly even pick one up at your closest Apple Retail store if it’s in stock.

Apple is sending a review unit to me at the end of the week, so for now I must scour the reviews of others to see what this new beast is like. So far I’m excited about it. Here are some of the reviews I’ve liked so far. Look for an article from me next week (or the week after) at Macworld about how the iPad Pro stacks up specifically for photographers.

  • Ben Bajarin at Techpinions, The iPad Pro: The Start of Something New:
    [I]f all we do is look for the iPad Pro to replace our desktop or laptop, we are missing the point. The paradigm of a fixed desktop computer plus a portable desktop computer, along with a mouse and keyboard as a primary input mechanism, is the old world of computing. I believe Apple has laid the groundwork for something new in this category. (Disclaimer: I helped edit this piece.)
  • Matthew Panzarino at TechCrunch, iPad Pro and the Death of a Metaphor: “iPads have little to no known malware, no bloatware to make a machine run slower, strict allowances for utilizing standing system resources and known hardware. What happens when you have a capable general consumer computing device, with no moving parts and software that is designed explicitly for the maximum capabilities of the device and no more? No one knows. It’s literally never happened before.”
  • John Gruber at Daring Fireball, The iPad Pro: “For me, the iPad Pro marks the turning point where iPads are no longer merely lightweight (both physically and conceptually) alternatives to MacBooks for use in simple scenarios, to where MacBooks will now start being seen as heavyweight alternatives to iPads for complex scenarios.”
  • Federico Viticci at MacStories, iPad Pro Review: A New Canvas: “This is less of a ‘just for media consumption’ device than any iPad before it. The iPad Pro is, primarily, about getting work done on iOS. And with such a focus on productivity, the iPad Pro has made rethink what I expect from an iPad.”

Not a review, but an acute observation by Rich Mogull:

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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!













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Check Your Apps Before Upgrading to iOS 9

Today is release day for iOS 9 (10 a.m. PST), which means (1) Apple’s servers will probably be slammed all day and it could take a long time to download and install the update, and (2) not all third-party apps are ready for the new operating system.

Before you apply the free upgrade, make sure any apps you rely on work properly. So far I’ve seen updates to ShutterSnitch, The Photographer’s Ephemeris, Handy Photo, and Flickr, to name a few photo-related apps. Others may already work fine with iOS 9 without a special update. And at least two are specifically not ready yet: CamRanger and Fujifilm Cam Remote.

I’ve been running iOS 9 betas for several weeks with few issues, but it’s always good to be cautious right when major new operating systems are sent to the wider world. Be sure to make an encrypted backup via iTunes before you update; that retains a lot of passwords and other information that you’d otherwise have to provide during the update process.

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My Review of Photos for OS X at Macworld

Apple dropped OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 today, and with it the release version of the new Photos for OS X. You can read my detailed review of the replacement for iPhoto and Aperture at Macworld here: Review: Photos for OS X is faster than iPhoto but less powerful than Aperture.

Lightroom mobile 1.3 Adds an Unexpected Editing Capability

While everyone was focused on the news of the new Photos for OS X developer preview, Adobe released a very interesting update to Lightroom mobile, its mobile companion to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.

In previous versions of the app, there was a truly hidden, super powerful editing feature: not only could you copy adjustments made on the device between images, you could also copy adjustments made in the desktop Lightroom application. So, for example, if you’d applied a graduated filter on the desktop to an image and synced that image to Lightroom mobile, copying its adjustments to another photo also added the graduated filter—even though Lightroom mobile doesn’t offer a graduated filter tool. (See item #4, Copy Adjustments Between Photos, in this article of Lightroom mobile tips published at a few months ago.)

Lightroom mobile 1.3 takes that one step further by enabling copying of adjustments in a more granular way. You can choose to copy only one type of edit and paste it. And that includes settings like Lens Corrections.

Watch the following video by Adobe’s Russell Brown to see the feature in action. It’s wonderfully cool.

Adobe Lightroom Mobile 1.3.0 from Russell Brown on Vimeo.

Photos for OS X Application Currently Missing at

While Apple was announcing its record-breaking quarterly financial results (not just breaking its own records, but earning $74.6 billion, the most revenue of any company in any quarter in history), elves at the Apple site were busy.

According to 9to5 Mac, there’s now no mention of the successor to iPhoto and Aperture on Apple’s Web site.

Has the application been delayed? Shelved? Is Apple on the verge or releasing it and we’re seeing the preparation for new information to appear? I don’t know. I’ve reached out to my PR contacts at Apple to see if they can shed light on the situation.

But I’m certainly curious.

Article: iPhone Video Beyond Basic: FiLMiC Pro

FiLMiC Pro

One promise of the video-capture capabilities of the iPhone and iPad is being able to create movies without a lot of other expensive hardware. That can be shooting short movies, action clips, interviews, or even news segments. But when you need more than just the basics, turn to the app FiLMiC Pro. I write about this $7.99 gem at and explain why it’s essential for anyone who needs manual control over the video they capture, from locking focus and exposure independently to capturing video at a resolution higher than the built-in Camera app does.

Read about it here: iPhone Video Beyond Basic: Shooting with FiLMiC Pro.

iPad and iPhone VideoI also cover FiLMiC Pro in my book iPad and iPhone Video: Film, Edit, and Share the Apple Way. (Hint: It makes a great gift for the budding director in your family or circle of friends!)

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Article: Make Photo Gifts Right from Your iPhone or iPad

Print gifts finished book2

Still looking for holiday gift ideas? Start with the photos in your iPhone or iPad! Over at, I’ve written about methods for making photo gifts without requiring a trip to your computer. Apps and services can make prints, photo books, and other creations while you wait in line to see Santa.

I also spotlight a couple of interesting photo book options: Chatbooks and Groovebook are designed to make small books out of all of your mobile photos (with the ability to skip shots you don’t like, of course) inexpensively. Chatbooks charges $6 for a 60-page book, while Groovebook works as a subscription that costs $2.99 per month for a book of 40 to 100 pages.

This was a fun article to research. Check it out here: Make Photo Gifts Right from Your iPhone or iPad.