Thunderbolt coming to iPhone and iPad?

Apr 6, 2011 - 1 Comment

Information has surfaced that suggests high speed Thunderbolt ports are coming to future iterations of iPhone and iPad. The first is a patent for a hybrid DisplayPort/Thunderbolt & USB 3.0 connector that was found by PatentlyApple. The patent clearly shows a wide pin connector that looks very similar to the existing iOS hardware USB cables, but the connector would include USB 3.0, USB 2.0, and a DisplayPort connectivity. The mention of DisplayPort is significant because Displayport is now the high speed Thunderbolt interface on new MacBook Pro models.

To give further support to this theory is a job opening at Apple for a “Thunderbolt Software Quality Engineer.” The position was discovered by AppleInsider, who suggests Apple is “looking to bring its new Thunderbolt port to new devices beyond the MacBook Pro.” The job posting appears to have been edited on Apple’s site, but earlier versions of it apparently referenced ARM processors, which is the CPU architecture behind the iPhone and iPad.

If you’re wondering how this would affect you, AppleInsider describes the speed of Thunderbolt as “fast enough to transfer a full-length high-definition movie in less than 30 seconds, or to back up an MP3 collection large enough to play nonstop for a full year in just 10 minutes.” In other words, future Mac to iOS device syncing and file transfers could happen nearly instantaneously.

Ultra high speed connectivity sounds great, but there’s also a good chance that you won’t need to sync with a physical cable at all in the near future. A report from the New York Times earlier this year suggested that an upcoming version of MobileMe will be made free and include wireless syncing capabilities for iPhone and iOS hardware. Maybe we’ll see this debut on iPhone 5?

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Posted by: Matt Chan in iPad, iPhone, Rumor

One Comment

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  1. Ian says:

    If this sees the light of day, it means two things:

    1) USB 3.0 is coming to Mac

    2) Apple has bigger plans for iOS if they need that much throughput on the hardware

    This is far beyond simple HD streaming.

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