Multiple patent applications by Apple were published by the US Patent and Trademark Office this morning. Three of the inventions revolve around Thunderbolt technology, and one in particular stands out: iOS device support.

Apple introduced Thunderbolt, an I/O platform that transfers data 20x faster than USB 2.0, last year in both its desktop and laptop computer lines. And now it looks like it could be bringing the tech to its popular mobile products…

Patently Apple points to an excerpt from one of the filings: “a connection may be provided between a portable media player and a display, a computer and a portable media player, or between other types of devices.”

So what does that mean for the average user? Thunderbolt would allow you to transfer data between your iOS device and computer at breakneck speeds. It would also make for much quicker battery charging.

Of course, all of this would be dependent on whether your computer has a Thunderbolt port or not. And while all of Apple’s 2011 Mac computers have the tech, Windows computers do not. Apple doesn’t typically dabble in technology that hasn’t been widely adopted (see LTE).

Nevertheless, we like the thought of Thunderbolt support in future iOS devices. The current USB cable has been around for ages it seems and its data transfer rates feel archaic in comparison to other technology.

  • Anonymous


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  • Im up for the idea. The port can handle ( I believe) hdmi. I know this is going to sound bad ( because of the wireless tinme) but the thought that I would be able to transfer my 1080p videos so fast, just made me smile a bit.

  • Speaking as an iPhone & a Thunderbolt MacBook owner, this DOES raise some concern over compatibility, we dont really need this in the age of Wi-Fi syncing, dont get me wrong though, I would love it’s implemented in a dual mode fashion (Thunderbolt + USB), but the compatibility issues it may cause dont seem to be worth the trouble!

  • So if it supposed to transfer data faster, does that mean faster syncing with iTunes??

  • No more tethering. Will Apple and Intel really push Thunderbolt that hard.

  • No more tethering. Will Apple and Intel really push Thunderbolt that hard.

  • Well, I suppose, but only if it also had the USB. Having just thunderbolt would simply make the iPhone (or iPod) for Apple “elitists”, leaving out much of the users who have windows machines.

  • I just wish they would introduce a USB 3.0 cable. I love my 3.0!

  • Push new tech forward? I’m for it