Intel upstages iPhone 15 with Thunderbolt 5, and it could transform Macs of the future

USB-C port
(Image credit: iMore)

While Apple's iPhone 15 and the transition to USB-C is all the rage this week, Intel has today taken the covers off its new Thunderbolt 5 technology, which promises to supercharge Macs and PCs alike for years to come. 

For the uninitiated, Thunderbolt is Intel's data delivery system, primarily used for displays in conjunction with a device like the Mac Studio or Mac Pro. This new standard promises to deliver more data than ever before, opening up new possibilities for gaming and creation. 

"Thunderbolt 5 will deliver 80 gigabits per second (Gbps) of bi-directional bandwidth, and with Bandwidth Boost it will provide up to 120 Gbps for the best display experience." Intel stated. "These improvements will provide up to three times more bandwidth than the best existing connectivity solution, providing outstanding display and data connections. Thunderbolt 5 will meet the high bandwidth needs of content creators and gamers. Built on industry standards – including USB4 V2 – Thunderbolt 5 will be broadly compatible with previous versions of Thunderbolt and USB." 

Thunderbolt 5 - Why it matters

More data means you can do more things with your Mac or PC. Where Thunderbolt 5 can power two 4K monitors at refresh rates of 60Hz, Thunderbolt 5 can power multiple 8K monitors, up to 540Hz refresh rates, or three 4K displays at 144Hz. 

It also has double the bandwidth for use with SSDs and external graphics cards. What's more, charging is provided by the same cable, so if you're using a MacBook, that same cable will also charge your device while you work. 

All of Apple's best MacBooks and desktops, powered by Apple silicon, offer Thunderbolt /USB 4 or USB-C ports, depending on the model. Thunderbolt 5 promises to be a massive upgrade on that. This technology has only just been announced, so don't expect to see it anytime soon, however. Intel says we can expect to see computers and accessories based on the Thunderbolt 5 tech from 2024. 

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9