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
118 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
118 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
118 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
118 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
118 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
118 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

magsafecasedangle

Apple Elaborates on Potential for iPhone 12 and MagSafe Accessories to Interfere With Implantable Medical Devices

Saturday January 23, 2021 2:42 pm PST by
Since the launch of iPhone 12 models in October, Apple has acknowledged that the devices may cause electromagnetic interference with medical devices like pacemakers and defibrillators, but the company has now shared additional information. Apple added the following paragraph to a related support document today:Medical devices such as implanted pacemakers and defibrillators might contain...
Top Stories 44 Feature

Top Stories: 'Thinner and Lighter' MacBook Air, Smaller iPhone 13 Notch, iOS 14.4 Incoming

Saturday January 23, 2021 6:00 am PST by
We continued to hear a lot more about Apple's plans for its Mac lineup this week, including word of a high-end redesigned MacBook Air and the return of an SD card slot as part of the upcoming MacBook Pro redesign. It also sounds like Apple has been working on Face ID for Mac, but it won't be appearing in a redesigned iMac this year as originally planned. This week also saw rumors about the...
bloodoxygenapplewatch

Apple Watch Series 7 Rumored to Feature Blood Glucose Monitoring

Monday January 25, 2021 5:05 am PST by
The Apple Watch Series 7 will reportedly feature blood glucose monitoring via an optical sensor, according to ETNews. The report, which mainly focuses on the blood glucose capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, explains that Apple is intending to bring blood glucose monitoring to the upcoming Apple Watch Series 7 using a non-invasive optical sensor. Measuring blood glucose levels,...
maxresdefault

Microsoft Touts Surface Pro 7 as 'The Better Choice' Over MacBook Pro in New Ad

Saturday January 23, 2021 11:02 am PST by
Microsoft yesterday shared a new ad on YouTube titled "Microsoft Surface Pro 7: The Better Choice," in which the company compares its tablet computer to Apple's 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro, as spotted by MSPoweruser. The ad highlights the Surface Pro 7's touchscreen and included stylus as opposed to only a "little bar" (the Touch Bar) on the MacBook Pro. Other advantages of the Surface Pro 7...
airpods galaxy buds comparison

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs. Apple AirPods Pro

Friday January 22, 2021 2:34 pm PST by
Samsung in January unveiled new flagship Galaxy S21 smartphones and alongside the new phones, introduced the $200 Galaxy Buds Pro, which are priced at $199 and offer Active Noise Cancellation. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. These new Galaxy Buds Pro are clearly designed to compete with Apple's AirPods Pro, so we thought we'd compare the two sets of earbuds in our...
2021 mbp sd slot feature2

Bloomberg: Next MacBook Pro to Feature SD Card Reader

Friday January 22, 2021 7:50 am PST by
Last week, reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo outlined his expectations for new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models later this year, including the return of the MagSafe charging connector, the removal of the Touch Bar, a new flat-edged design, and the return of more ports built into the notebooks for expanded connectivity. A concept of a modern MacBook Pro with an SD card reader Kuo did not...
time to walk apple watch

Apple Fitness+ Feature 'Time to Walk' Launching Soon With Audio Stories From Special Guests

Saturday January 23, 2021 7:13 pm PST by
Earlier this week, Apple seeded the watchOS 7.3 Release Candidate, which is typically the final beta version of a software update. The release notes for the update list a new "Time to Walk" feature for Apple Fitness+ subscribers, described as "an audio experience in the Workout app where guests share inspiring stories as you walk." Apple Fitness+ subscribers will be able to open the Workout...
Flat MacBook Air Feature

Bloomberg: Apple Working on 'Thinner and Lighter' High-End MacBook Air With MagSafe, Could Launch in Second Half of 2021

Friday January 22, 2021 3:34 am PST by
Apple is working on a "thinner and lighter" version of the MacBook Air that the company plans to release during the second half of this year at the earliest or in 2022, according to a new report by well-connected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman. It will include Apple's MagSafe charging technology and a next-generation version of the company's in-house Mac processors. Apple has discussed...
q4 2020 mac growth feature

Mac Sales Skyrocketing After M1 Launch

Tuesday January 19, 2021 3:00 am PST by
Apple's worldwide Mac shipments grew massively in the fourth quarter of 2020 after the launch of three new Macs with the M1 chip, according to new PC shipping estimates shared by Gartner. Apple shipped an estimated 6.9 million Macs, up from the 5.25 million it shipped at the same time in 2019, marking significant growth of 31.3 percent. In spite of the growth of Mac sales, Apple remained...
apple time to walk apple watch airpods 01252021 inline

Apple's New 'Time to Walk' Feature Launches Today for Fitness+ Subscribers

Monday January 25, 2021 6:30 am PST by
Apple today officially introduced Time to Walk, a new feature for Apple Fitness+ subscribers with audio stories from influential people that Apple Watch users can listen to with AirPods or other wireless headphones while walking. Time to Walk episodes will be automatically downloaded to the Apple Watch with a Fitness+ subscription, and users can start an episode directly from the Workout...