Intel's new 10Gbps Thunderbolt I/O system, used by Apple in their MacBook Pro update yesterday, uses PCI Express and Mini DisplayPort technologies... neither of which it turns out are ideal candidates for iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. Macworld elaborates:
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.
The benefit would be what we discussed on iPhone Live on Wednesday -- really fast transfer of files like when you need to update your software, restore your backups and re-sync lots of big apps like games and navigation with on-board maps. Is that a common enough situation where Thunderbolt would make sense for future iOS devices? Or is USB fast enough for the big stuff and everything else is heading wireless anyway?