According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple’s upcoming iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will have a USB-C connector that supports at least USB 3.2 or Thunderbolt 3, which would give the devices a significant speed boost over current models.
While Lightning supports USB 2.0 rates of up to 480 Mbps on all current iPhones, Thunderbolt 3 theoretically offers bandwidth of up to 40 Gbps. An iPhone 15 Pro with a Thunderbolt-enabled USB-C connection would provide noticeably faster data transfer speeds using a Thunderbolt cable, making it considerably easier to move huge files, like 48-megapixel ProRAW photographs, on and off of the iPhone, even with practical performance limits.
Even if the iPhone 15 Pro versions only have USB 3.2 capability, that would still be a major improvement over Lightning, with theoretical transfer speeds ranging from 5 Gbps to 20 Gbps depending on the particular specification.
With USB-C connectors, the majority of iPads currently provide quicker transfer rates. The fifth-generation iPad Air is capable of 10 Gbps, the fourth-generation iPad Air is capable of 5 Gbps, and iPad Pro models with the M1 chip and newer support Thunderbolt 3 for bandwidth of up to 40 Gbps. The new 10th-generation standard iPad with a USB-C connector is the only exception, and it is still only capable of USB 2.0 speeds.
Despite switching to a USB-C port, Kuo claimed that the basic iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will still only support USB 2.0 speeds, similar to the 10th-generation iPad. On these devices, AirDrop would still be an option for quicker wireless data transfers.