Apple Patent Applications Look Toward Thunderbolt on iOS Devices

thunderbolt logoAn 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

downpour Avatar
128 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)
AidenShaw Avatar
128 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)
Fazzy Avatar
128 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)
fletch33 Avatar
128 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)
rikscha Avatar
128 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)
osx11 Avatar
128 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)

Related Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
YouTube Picture in Picture Feature

YouTube Premium Subscribers Can Now Use iOS Picture-in-Picture: Here's How

Wednesday August 25, 2021 3:55 am PDT by
Google has rolled out picture-in-picture support as an "experimental" feature for YouTube premium subscribers, allowing them to watch video in a small window when the app is closed. If you're a premium YouTube subscriber looking to try out picture-in-picture, follow these steps: Launch a web browser and sign into your YouTube account at YouTube.com. Navigate to www.youtube.com/new. Scroll...
os x mountain lion macs 16x9 2

Apple Makes OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Free to Download

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:19 pm PDT by
Apple recently dropped the $19.99 fee for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, making the older Mac updates free to download, reports Macworld. Apple has kept OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion available for customers who have machines limited to the older software, but until recently, Apple was charging $19.99 to get download codes for the updates. As of last week, these updates no...
tim cook spring loaded event

Gurman: Apple Planning Multiple Events for the Fall, M1X MacBook Pros to be Available by November

Sunday August 15, 2021 12:07 pm PDT by
Apple is planning to hold multiple events this fall, which will collectively include the launch of new iPhones, Apple Watches, updated AirPods, revamped iPad mini, and the redesigned MacBook Pros, according to respected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman. In his latest weekly Power On newsletter, Gurman says that much like last year, Apple will hold multiple events this coming fall, with the...
apple screen time screen icons

Persistent Kids Finding Loopholes in Apple's Screen Time Limits

Tuesday October 15, 2019 9:44 am PDT by
Apple is currently engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with persistent kids looking to circumvent Screen Time restrictions, but the company has been receiving some criticism for not moving quickly enough to lock down some of the loopholes, reports The Washington Post. A few of the loopholes and ways for parents to shut them down are documented on the site Protect Young Eyes, while these and...
anker lightning cable mfi

Unwrap a New Apple Device? Stock Up on Extra Certified Lightning Cables for as Little as $6

Monday December 25, 2017 5:45 am PST by
If you unwrapped an Apple product today it likely came with one of the company's first-party Lightning cables, but having an extra on hand is always a good idea, so you can place it in other rooms in your house, in your car, or in a bag when you travel. For that reason, now's a good time to shop for third-party Lightning cables that are cheaper than Apple's own accessory, but still Made For...
personal hotspot 1

Apple Acknowledges Personal Hotspot Issues Affecting Some iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 Users

Saturday March 21, 2020 10:04 am PDT by
In an internal document distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers this week, obtained by MacRumors, Apple has acknowledged that some iOS 13 or iPadOS 13 users may experience issues with Personal Hotspot. Apple has told Authorized Service Providers to expect customers who are unable to connect to a Personal Hotspot or experience frequent disconnection from one. Customers may also...
macos monterey safari beta 3

macOS Monterey Beta 3: Apple Redesigns Safari Tab Interface Following Complaints

Wednesday July 14, 2021 11:39 am PDT by
In the third developer beta of macOS Monterey, which came out this morning, Apple has overhauled the design of Safari, making the tab bar more similar to the current tab bar in macOS Big Sur. The prior Safari design did away with the dedicated URL and search interface, instead allowing any individual tab to be used for navigation input. Tabs were also all arranged at the top of the display...