Apple patents reveal Thunderbolt is headed for iOS devices

“Three new patent applications from Apple were published this morning by the USPTO that detail various aspects of Apple’s revolutionary I/O technology called Thunderbolt,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple.

“Apple filed many Thunderbolt trademarks in 2011 which opened the question as to who really owned the trademark and technology. The general line of thinking in the market today is that Thunderbolt was developed by Intel and brought to market with technical collaboration from Apple Inc.,” Purcher reports. “Yet beyond filing several Thunderbolt trademarks, today’s multiple detailed patents from Apple would strongly suggest that they’re attempting to secure Thunderbolt related patents. This of course would fly in the face of Apple’s involvement in the development of Thunderbolt as being limited to ‘technical collaboration.'”

Purcher reports, “The good news that emerged from these patents is that Apple is focused on bringing Thunderbolt to iOS devices in the future so as to provide faster data transfers and more importantly, faster recharging.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple patent application reveals work on optical transmitting cables – October 20, 2011
Thunderbolt isn’t just a faster USB – and Mac buyers see that – August 25, 2011
Mac Thunderbolt speed tests obliterate USB 2.0, FireWire 800 – June 29, 2011
5 Reasons why Thunderbolt is a big deal – May 3, 2011


  1. The very worst thing that Apple did in the development of the iPod was removing support for FireWire.

    iPods that supported FireWire synced very quickly. Devices that came later and only supported USB synced much more slowly. Sadly that includes every single iOS device.

    I dread the setup process when I buy a new iOS device – the hours and hours of syncing it requires to restore all my apps and media really kills the excitement of the experience.

    I would dearly love to see iOS devices coming equipped with Thunderbolt. I really don’t care whether or not that would include faster charging – that to me is an irrelevance, since my devices seem to charge fast enough as it is. I just want faster syncing. Please.

    1. I agree with your comments whole heartedly but it was a pragmatic move designed to gain marketshare. Firewire or whatever name they have on the PC side was not ubiquitous as USB and had it remained Firewire only it would have stalled marketshare growth. Ironically, the growth of the USB interface on the PC side was due to in no small part to Apple’s widespread adoption of it by way of the original iMac.

    2. The current USB 2.0 standard is faster than the FireWire apple had back then on the old iPods isn’t it?
      Wasn’t it only 400?

      I have one still, cable and the big power brick anyway, the iPod died a miserable death…

  2. I ordered a Pegasus RAID Thunderbolt storage device with my 2011 MacBook Air (i7 CPU, 4 GB RAM). The reason was that I had suffered the slow read/write speeds of an external USB 2 drive on a 2010 MB Air. But external storage was necessary, both for Time Machine backups and for a collection of files that simply won’t fit on the 256 GB SSD in the Air.

    RAID storage provides fast access times, but couldn’t live up to that potential with a USB connection.

    Thunderbolt is real! With it, the Pegasus adds 3 TB of formatted storage with access times comparable to the internal SSD.

    True, the Pegasus is far from being portable (or even luggable), so on travel the Air is limited to the internal SSD. But when on my desk the Air becomes a powerhouse for working with my files – I hardly ever touch my 2009 iMac, even though it has a quad i7 and more RAM.

    Thunderbolt for iOS devices to speed up backups and data transfers? Bring it on, please!

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