Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts that Apple’s next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will include a USB-C port that supports at least USB 3.2 or Thunderbolt 3, which would give the devices a considerable speed boost over current models. While the Lightning port on all currently available iPhones is limited to USB 2.0 rates of up to 480 Mbps, Thunderbolt 3 theoretically offers a bandwidth of up to 40 Gbps.
An iPhone 15 Pro equipped with a Thunderbolt-enabled USB-C connection would allow for substantially faster data transfer speeds using a Thunderbolt cable, making it much easier to get large files on and off the device, such as 48-megapixel ProRAW photographs. This is despite real-world performance restrictions.
Even if the iPhone 15 Pro only supports USB 3.2, that still translates to transfer speeds between 5 Gbps and 20 Gbps (depending on the actual specification), making it vastly superior to Lightning. Even the standard iPad, if it has a USB-C port, usually has better transfer speeds.
Thunderbolt 3 on iPad Pro versions with the M1 processor and later allows for transfer rates of up to 40 Gbps, while the iPad Air 5 can handle 10 Gbps, and the iPad Air 4 and the most recent iPad mini can handle transfer rates of up to 5 Gbps.
The only device that falls short is the new standard iPad (10th generation), which uses a USB-C connector but can only achieve USB 2.0 speeds. Kuo predicted that despite moving to a USB-C port, both the basic iPhone 15 and the iPhone 15 Plus would be limited to USB 2.0 speeds, much like the 10th-generation iPad. Faster wireless data transfers would still be possible with AirDrop on these gadgets.