Could Thunderbolt open up mobile opportunities?

Screen shot 2011-02-24 at 10.31.18 PM
Today, Apple and Intel announced the availability of Thunderbolt, a.k.a. Light Peak. This connector provides transfer speeds of up to a whopping 10 Gbps, which is faster than USB 3.0.

Since Apple and Intel seemingly teamed up for Thunderbolt, the connector head is in the shape of Apple's own Mini Displayport. If you've seen this connector before, then you know it to be pretty small. In fact, it could fit on a device the size of an iPhone in lieu of the seemingly unproprietary 30-pin connector. 

What makes Thunderbolt interesting to me is that it has a lot of features that could improve tablet computing.

Tablet computing is all about speed and portability. With Thunderbolt's 10 Gbps data transfer speed, users could dock their devices and, within seconds, get all of the data that they need.

But maybe you're more the kind of person who has something like a laptop and only uses it at a desk, but loves the easy portability. With Thunderbolt, you can daisy-chain up to 7 different devices. Imagine this situation: You're a businessperson and you have an iPad 2 with all of your company's financial reports from the Numbers app. But maybe you want to hook a keyboard and mouse up, possibly gain some real estate from an external monitor, and listen to some of your music through speakers. Thunderbolt's daisy-chaining abilities can make that work for you.

These are just a couple reasons why Thunderbolt could make tablet computing a more viable option for a larger demographic of people. What do you think?

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Calob Horton

Calob Horton is an associate editor at Pocketables. He loves all technology, no matter which company it comes from. This unbiased view of the tech world allows him to choose the products that best fit his personal needs and tastes: a Microsoft Surface Pro, a Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and a third-gen iPad.Google+ | Twitter | More posts by Calob | Subscribe to Calob's posts

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3 thoughts on “Could Thunderbolt open up mobile opportunities?

  • The 13″ looks pretty nice, and is probably worth an upgrade from my original 13″ Macbook Pro. I was initially concerned that the external display shared the same single Thunderbolt port, but according to Apple’s website: “With the new Thunderbolt port, you can daisy-chain as many as six devices, including your display, to create a full-fledged workstation.” So it looks like those of us who need to hook up to an external display (like for Photoshop) won’t have to lose the Thunderbolt port for storage.

  • Avatar of yamete888

    Anything that could speed up input/output for a tablet, aside from its own cpu speed, is the speed of the peripherals…since the connector is relatively small, maybe…with Apple’s 1-year exclusivity on this port, could so either wonders, or screw up the whole thunderbolt marketing campaign…
    sure, thunderbolt is fast, so Apple could have the advantage of being the only one that has it, but since it’s not then “mainstream”…then therem ight be less peripherals to choose from…
    Also, I’ve read many people wanted some sort of MacBook Air Pro, since they wanted Apple to lose the DVD drive in favor of either SSD, or a combo SSD for OS, and regular HD for data…(also read the Seagate Momentus XT drives don’t work well with Macs & PCs…firmware issues?)…so in this round, it was an incremental improvement…maybe the next revision of the MAcBooks compared to the 1st gen of i5/i7 ones would be then considered m revolutionary!

  • Apart from the price itself is there any cost on that ? I see how much USB 2.0 nowadays does power drain (3.0 even much more as it seems). Any info if this does cost even more power ? Currently download via LAN does nearly not affect the CPU while download via USB affect it. Don’t have practice experience with GB-Lan versus USB 3.0 using same download rate.

    Most problematic in this regards are hard discs. They are getting much to slow to save the large amount of data you can already download nowadays and SDD are much too expensive as replacement (with large amount data I mean the GB/TB range, for MB range these new ports are not interesting).

    What I like about the concept is daisy chain… I hate USB for being a BUS since it was adopted widely (and the better Firewire/IEEE1394 concept never succeeded).


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