Intel Looks to Broaden Thunderbolt 3 Adoption by Integrating Into Future CPUs, Eliminating Royalties

Intel today announced that it plans to drive large-scale mainstream adoption of Thunderbolt by releasing the protocol's specification to the industry next year under a nonexclusive, royalty-free license.

thunderbolt 3 ports macbook pro
The move should help expand the Thunderbolt ecosystem by making the protocol more affordable for technology companies and accessory makers alike. Intel expects third-party Thunderbolt-compatible chip development to accelerate a wide range of new devices and user experiences.

Intel also revealed plans to integrate Thunderbolt 3 into its future CPUs, but it didn't provide a timeline as to when. The all-in-one design will take up less space on a Mac or PC's logic board, and reduce power consumption by eliminating the need for a standalone Thunderbolt controller.

“Apple and Intel have collaborated on Thunderbolt from the beginning, and as the industry leader in its adoption, we applaud Intel’s efforts to integrate Thunderbolt technology into its CPUs and open it up to the rest of the industry,” said Dan Riccio, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Engineering.

Intel said Thunderbolt 3 built into the processor could pave the way for thinner and lighter devices, although the current Thunderbolt 3 controller used in Apple's latest MacBook Pro has a package size of 10.7mm×10.7mm, so any logic board space saved would likely be negligible.

The greater benefit will likely come from Thunderbolt 3's increased power efficiency, paving the way for longer battery life.

Thunderbolt 3 carries power, USB, DisplayPort, HDMI, and VGA over a single port that shares the USB-C connector design, creating one standard for connecting most accessories and peripherals. Apple's latest MacBook Pro has two or four Thunderbolt 3 ports depending on the model.

Thunderbolt 3 can transfer data at speeds up to 40Gbps, allowing for a full 4K movie to be transferred in less than 30 seconds. The interface is suitable for 4K virtual reality experiences on PCs, high-end gaming, and single-cable peripherals such as external displays, docks, and storage drives.

Top Rated Comments

69Mustang Avatar
91 months ago
This news just confirms that Apple was right in ditching all other ports. In 2/3 years, anyone who bought an expensive computer with old ports will regret it
Regret it how? Person buys brand new computer today, May 24th. A standard config with USB, HDMI, Display Port, SD Reader. Come 2020, the computer still works. So what's to regret? I bet you can find forum members with computers that are 2, 3, heck 5-7 years old (or older) running perfectly fine. I know my 2011 MBA is still humming along. It's pretty hard to regret something that doesn't exist yet, and it definitely isn't a confirmation that Apple was correct about anything. In fact, didn't Apple recently acknowledge some of their decisions weren't exactly spot on?
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FasterQuieter Avatar
91 months ago
I wonder how many thunderbolt capable Macs I'll have gone though before there is a sensibly priced thunderbolt peripheral. I am up to 3 so far and have yet to use the port. I had actually given up on it.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Return Zero Avatar
91 months ago
Sounds like great news. 40Gbps is just insane speed; I can't wait for this to become a ubiquitous standard.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
T'hain Esh Kelch Avatar
91 months ago
Didn't realize this was Intel's call - always assumed it was Apple who owned the rights.
Why? Intel invented it.

But this is a really good thing.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DanielDD Avatar
91 months ago
This news just confirms that Apple was right in ditching all other ports. In 2/3 years, anyone who bought an expensive computer with old ports will regret it
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
c0ppo Avatar
91 months ago
So AMD with TB3 then? Intel and Free licensing ?
What's next? MBP 15 for less then 1500$?
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

General Apps Messages

iMessage Down for Some Users [Update: Service Restored]

Thursday May 16, 2024 3:00 pm PDT by
The iMessage service that Apple users to send messages to one another appears to be down for some users, and messages are failing to go out or are taking an extra long time to send. There are numerous reports about the issue on social networks and a spike of outage reports on Down Detector, but Apple's System Status page is not yet reporting an outage. Update: Apple's status page says...
iOS 17

Troubling iOS 17.5 Bug Reportedly Resurfacing Old Deleted Photos

Wednesday May 15, 2024 5:29 am PDT by
There are concerning reports on Reddit that Apple's latest iOS 17.5 update has introduced a bug that causes old photos that were deleted – in some cases years ago – to reappear in users' photo libraries. After updating their iPhone, one user said they were shocked to find old NSFW photos that they deleted in 2021 suddenly showing up in photos marked as recently uploaded to iCloud. Other...
iphone 15 pro max vs iphone 16 pro max

iPhone 16 Pro Max Looks This Much Bigger Beside iPhone 15 Pro Max

Thursday May 16, 2024 4:51 am PDT by
This year's upcoming iPhone 16 Pro Max is expected to get a boost in overall size from 6.7-inches to 6.9-inches, and a new image gives us a good idea of how the current iPhone 15 Pro Max compares to what could be Apple's largest ever iPhone. The image above, posted on X by ZONEofTECH, shows a dummy model representing the ‌iPhone 16 Pro‌ Max alongside an actual iPhone 15 Pro Max. Dummy...
iOS 17

iOS 17.5 Bug May Also Resurface Deleted Photos on Wiped, Sold Devices

Friday May 17, 2024 12:24 pm PDT by
A bug in iOS 17.5 is apparently causing photos that have been deleted to reappear, and the issue seems to impact even iPhones and iPads that have been erased and sold off to other people. A Reddit user wiped an iPad following Apple's guidelines in September of 2023 before selling it off to a friend. That friend updated the iPad to iPadOS 17.5 this week, and began seeing the Reddit user's old ...
oled m4 ipad pro grainy display reports

OLED iPad Pro Users Report 'Grainy' Displays, But It May Not Be a Defect

Friday May 17, 2024 5:57 am PDT by
Some new M4 iPad Pro models are exhibiting a visible static grain pattern across the OLED display, according to several user reports on Reddit (1, 2, 3) and the MacRumors Forums. Image credit: MacRumors user bk215 Users who see the grain generally report that it is most noticeable in dark environments with the display set at a low to medium brightness while viewing content with gray or muted...
Delta Hands On Feature

iPhone Emulators on the App Store: Game Boy, N64, PS1, PSP, and More

Thursday May 16, 2024 12:45 pm PDT by
In April, Apple updated its guidelines to allow retro game emulators on the App Store, and several popular emulators have already been released. The emulators released so far allow iPhone users to play games released for older consoles from Nintendo, Sony, SEGA, Atari, and others. A list of some popular emulators available on the App Store so far follows. Released Delta Delta is...