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Intel confirms the speedy Thunderbolt 4 will be part of Tiger Lake spec

Lacie drive
Lacie drive (Image credit: LaCie)

What you need to know

  • Intel confirmed Thunderbolt 4 is on its way.
  • It was mentioned during a CES press conference.
  • It's going to be faaaaast.

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[Update] Sometimes things get a little mixed up during trade shows, and it seems to have happened here, too. As Tom's Hardware notes – after seeking multiple clarifications from Intel – Thunderbolt 4 isn't actually going to be any faster than Thunderbolt 3. So it's basically a re-branding. Which is just wonderful. Original article follows:

Intel has been speaking about its upcoming Tiger Lake processors at CES 2020, and as part of that we've heard good news about Thunderbolt 4. In short, it's coming.

We always expected Thunderbolt 4 would arrive eventually, but now we know that the upcoming Tiger Lake mobile processors will support it. And according to Intel, we can expect throughout to be "four times as high as USB 3."

I presume that's the most recent, super-duper, fasty-fast version of USB 3 which is the snappily-named USB 3.2 Gen 2x2. That spec boasts speeds of around 20Mbps, making Thunderbolt 4 considerably faster than the 40Gbps of its predecessor.

We don't know when Thunderbolt 4 will arrive, or when Apple will start to implement it. That all depends on which Intel chips support it, and while we're told Tiger Lake will be around later this year, that's as much as we know for now.

Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.