How far will Apple go towards spreading around some of that Thunderbolt love?

Tue, Mar 1, 2011


Apple last week introduced a new line of MacBook Pros. Chief among the improvements was the introduction of Thunderbolt, the name Apple bestowed upon Intel’s Light Peak transfer technology that can impressively transfer data at 10 Gbps both up and down.

Apple of course likes to methodically permeate its innovations across its product line, so with Thunderbolt now out of the bag, just how far will Apple go to bring the technology into other products in its arsenal? While we wouldn’t be surprised if Thunderbolt doesn’t find its way into the entry level MacBooks anytime soon (have to keep the Consumer/Pro chasm in tact after all), putting the technology into a new lineup of iMacs seems like a no-brainer.

Taking things further, the mangochutney blog theorizesthat Apple will eventually bring Thunderbolt to its line of iOS devices as a dock connector replacement.

In my opinion the Thunderbolt interface could also be a successor for the aged dock connector found on iOS devices, as it can carry anything from a simple data stream, a video signal, an audio signal and lastly power.

Now that’d be a welcome addition to a syncing process that can often be cumbersome now that we have HD movies, apps, and higher quality songs to transfer to a plethora of devices. There is a speedbump, however.

Addressing the issue specifically for Macworld, Dan Moren writes:

Will iOS devices get Thunderbolt?

As noted above, Thunderbolt relies on PCI Express, the architecture that underpins Macs and most PCs. But iOS devices don’t use a PCI Express architecture, which would presumably make it difficult to simply stick a Thunderbolt port on an iPhone. Plus the dock-connector port on iOS devices provides quite a bit of additional functionality—it’s got 30 connection pins for a reason, after all. Finally, it’s not clear what benefits Thunderbolt would provide that the dock-connector port is missing. We suspect it’s far more likely that Apple will eventually sell an optional Thunderbolt-to-dock-connector cable for charging and syncing.



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