Apple Patent Applications Look Toward Thunderbolt on iOS Devices

An extensive report from Patently Apple today highlights three newly-published patent applications from Apple related in various ways to Thunderbolt technology. Among the topics gaining the most attention are mentions of Thunderbolt being used on iOS devices and the potential for faster charging enabled by better heat dissipation.

Before going into the details of this main patent in their series of three, it should be noted that Apple states in their secondary patent application that "the present invention, connection may also be a new type of connection." For example, "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."

The three patent applications cover such aspects as the basic pinout of the Thunderbolt connector and how the various wires are arranged within a cable, as well as methods for handling heat dissipation. With Thunderbolt cables containing integrated electronics, a relatively significant amount of heat can be generated and Apple's patent applications discuss how cable braiding and material choices can help manage that heat load.

The applications also discuss handling different voltages on Thunderbolt cables, acknowledging that it may be desirable to pass along higher voltages to devices for faster charging but that lower voltages would be required for simply passing data signals. To handle these voltage differences, Apple's patent applications describe methods for integrating voltage reduction circuitry only on those devices requiring the stepped-down voltage.

Patent applications are typically written to be as broadly applicable as possible while still being able to win acceptance by the patent examiner, and thus Apple's mention of Thunderbolt technology on "portable media player" devices may not be specifically pointing to imminent product plans. But Apple has revealed in past patent applications that it is interested in including DisplayPort technology (upon which Thunderbolt is based) in its current dock connector format used on iOS devices.

Tag: patent

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
115 months ago
I really hope they kill the dock connector, I hate it.

My ideal solution would be magnetic, similar to the magsafe chargers but slimmer, with a stronger transition into the cable. Also, it really needs to attach either way around, so you can easily connect it in the dark.

This would mean you wouldn't need that horrible dust-trap at the bottom of your iphone/ipad perhaps just a slight indentation for location... but the magnets could help with this. It may also allow for waterproof idevices in the future.

They could also offer an adaptor so idevices with the new standard can be backwards compatible with existing equipment, like old speaker docks etc.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
115 months ago

yeah looking forward to my 1.5TB of video and data to move through iCould.


And you'll be "looking forward" for a long, long time.

Warning - personal anecdote follows...

During a remodel a few years ago I wired my house with structured cabling and Cat6 everywhere. (The kitchen alone has six Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 outlets on the walls at various locations - plus bedrooms, offices, home theatre - even the garage has a couple.)

Recently I started a copy of a 45 GB BD rip to one of the laptops sitting on the kitchen counter. After a short time - the progress bar said "7 hours remaining".

Aiden said "D'oh" and slapped himself in the forehead - the laptop was on WiFi (or as we call it "SlowFi"). Grabbed a Cat6 cable and gave the laptop a copper connection to the RJ45 jack a metre or so away. The laptop transparently switched from the SlowFi connection to the copper GbE, and a minute later the progress bar said "12 minutes remaining".

It amazes me when people say things like "we don't need local disks - we have the cloud". Totally clueless about the bandwidth needs of applications vs. the bandwidth available to the massively overwhelmingly large portion of ISP customers.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
115 months ago
I wonder when (or if?) These will be for sale? Its highly unlikely they'll be sold with the device, way too many people don't have thunderbolt computers, so knowing Apple, they'll be $50 for a 15cm cable:rolleyes:
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
115 months ago
if there is one thing i have enjoyed over these many years with my Macs it is definitely the "almost" proprietary adapters (NOT) lol

just go with USB3 and keep our cost down.

every time i plug in my mini-HDMI adapter when i could be using my micro-HDMI adapter (that everything else i own uses and carries sound) it drives me crazy.

although like most of us not enough to stop buying them every year :)
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
115 months ago

How can Apple apply for these patents when Thunderbolt is supposedly an Intel property ?


they both developed thunderbolt together.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
115 months ago
I doubt it.

The future will be all-wireless.

They would have to integrate Thunderbolt technology into the dock connector because the typical Thunderbolt/DisplayPort connector is already to thick for iPhone/ipad/ipod.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Early iPhone 12 Tests Show Ceramic Shield is Stronger and More Scratch Resistant Than iPhone 11 Glass

Friday October 23, 2020 1:21 pm PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 models are protected by a Ceramic Shield cover glass that has nano-ceramic crystals infused right into the glass to improve durability. According to Apple, Ceramic Shield offers four times better drop protection than the glass used for the iPhone 11 models. YouTube channel MobileReviewsEh conducted some tests on the iPhone 12 using a force meter to compare its performance ...

iPhone 12 Pro Allows You to Measure Someone's Height Instantly Using LiDAR Scanner

Saturday October 24, 2020 11:12 am PDT by
iPhone 12 Pro models feature a new LiDAR Scanner for enhanced augmented reality experiences, but the sensor also enables another unique feature: the ability to measure a person's height instantly using the Measure app. You can even measure the seated height of a person in a chair, according to Apple. When the Measure app detects a person in the viewfinder, it automatically measures their...

Google Reportedly Pays Apple $8-12 Billion Per Year to be Default iOS Search Engine

Sunday October 25, 2020 2:59 pm PDT by
The United States Justice Department is targeting a lucrative deal between Apple and Google as part of one of the U.S. government's largest antitrust cases, reports The New York Times. On Tuesday, the Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, claiming the Mountain View-based company used anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and advertising markets to ...

Apple References Unreleased 2020 16-Inch MacBook Pro in Boot Camp Update

Monday October 26, 2020 8:42 am PDT by
Last week, Apple released an update for Boot Camp, its utility for running Windows on a Mac. While this update would typically be unremarkable, several of our readers noticed that the release notes reference an unreleased 2020 model of the 16-inch MacBook Pro. While this could easily be a mistake, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is nearly a year old, so it is certainly a worthy candidate for a...

Apple Warns MagSafe Charger Can Leave Circular Imprints on Leather Cases

Friday October 23, 2020 3:23 pm PDT by
If you keep your iPhone in a leather case while charging with Apple's new MagSafe Charger, the case might show circular imprints from contact with the accessory, according to a new Apple support document published today. Apple's leather cases for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are not available until November 6, but a MacRumors reader has already shared a photo of a circular imprint on...

iPhone 11 Pro Outlasts iPhone 12 and 12 Pro in Extensive Battery Life Test

Friday October 23, 2020 8:36 am PDT by
Arun Maini today shared a new side-by-side iPhone battery life video test on his YouTube channel Mrwhosetheboss, timing how long the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models last on a single charge compared to older models, with equal brightness, settings, battery health, and usage. All of the devices are running iOS 14 without a SIM card inserted. In the test, the iPhone 11 Pro outlasted both ...

PSA: Non-iPhone 12 Models Charge Super Slowly With MagSafe Charger

Friday October 23, 2020 4:11 pm PDT by
Alongside the iPhone 12 models, Apple introduced a new $39 MagSafe Charger that's meant to work with the magnets in the iPhone 12 Pro models to charge them up at a maximum of 15W. The MagSafe Charger is technically able to be used with older iPhones, but it's not a good idea because the charging with non-iPhone 12 devices is so slow. We did two tests with the iPhone XS Max, draining the...

MagSafe Charger Teardown Reveals Simple Design With Magnets and Charging Coil Encircling a Small Circuit Board

Friday October 23, 2020 7:50 am PDT by
iFixit has today shared a teardown of Apple's new MagSafe charger for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. An X-ray of the MagSafe charger courtesy of Creative Electron reveals the internal charging coil surrounded by a circular arrangement of magnets within the puck. The only seam that iFixit was able to leverage to open the device was where the white rubber circle meets the metal rim,...

Apple VP Kaiann Drance Interview Addresses Battery Life, MagSafe, and Power Adapter Concerns

Friday October 23, 2020 3:37 am PDT by
Apple's Vice President of iPhone Marketing, Kaiann Drance, has provided a new interview to Rich DeMuro on the Rich on Tech Podcast, to discuss the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. Although much of the interview repeated points from Apple's "Hi, Speed" event, there were a number of interesting tidbits regarding the affect of 5G on battery life, MagSafe concerns, and the lack of a power adapter in...

iFixit Shares Full iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Teardown Revealing Interchangeable Displays and Batteries

Saturday October 24, 2020 1:48 pm PDT by
After live streaming a teardown of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro earlier this week, iFixit today provided a more in-depth teardown that goes through all of the components in the new devices, revealing several similarities between the two. Early testing conducted by iFixit shows that the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro displays are interchangeable and can be swapped without issue, though the max...