Apple Patent Applications Look Toward Thunderbolt on iOS Devices

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Apr 12, 2001
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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.

Article Link: Apple Patent Applications Look Toward Thunderbolt on iOS Devices
 

osx11

macrumors 6502a
Jan 16, 2011
825
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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.
 

dernhelm

macrumors 68000
May 20, 2002
1,633
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middle earth
I'm all in on this one if they do it. I'm certain that they'd keep the current iPod connector, however, and just transmit thunderbolt signals over it. I'm relatively certain that's possible.

I hate the current connector, but everything relies on it, so they won't change it.
 

kjs862

macrumors 65816
Jan 21, 2004
1,295
24
This is awesome! I bet a lot of people would use this, especially of wifi sync!
 

Yamcha

macrumors 68000
Mar 6, 2008
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I'd first like to see some Thunderbolt compatible hardware.. What I'm looking forward to most is external graphics cards.. That would be awesome...
 

velocityg4

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Dec 19, 2004
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I doubt they'll do it anytime soon. Not until most people have computers with thunderbolt, assuming thunderbolt is ever more than a niche product like FireWire. Which will be the case if the peripherals are more expensive than USB 3.0.
 

Fazzy

macrumors 6502
Oct 12, 2011
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check the tracking device
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:
 

wikus

macrumors 68000
Jun 1, 2011
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Planet earth.
I'd first like to see some Thunderbolt compatible hardware.. What I'm looking forward to most is external graphics cards.. That would be awesome...
Keep dreaming. Apple has never shown to give a crap about graphics cards for its user base.
 

dysamoria

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Dec 8, 2011
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Oh great. Now cables generate heat too? Forget the whole cold fusion pipe dream; I want a heat-free computing experience. It's ridiculous how much heat our devices generate. It's not just wasted energy; it's uncomfortable (& even dangerous).
 

JHankwitz

macrumors 68000
Oct 31, 2005
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Hopefully Apple won't charge outrageous fees for others to license their patents. That's what primarily prevented betamax, firewire, and other great technologies from succeeding.
 

Eidorian

macrumors Penryn
Mar 23, 2005
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Hopefully Apple won't charge outrageous fees for others to license their patents. That's what primarily prevented betamax, firewire, and other great technologies from succeeding.
Talk to Intel about the hardware. Mini-DisplayPort is royalty-free otherwise. That did not keep Sony from using a USB like connector though.
 

JHankwitz

macrumors 68000
Oct 31, 2005
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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:
Gee, that's cheaper than what Best Buy charges for a simple HDMI cable, and they sell them by the thousands.
 

downpour

macrumors 6502
Oct 20, 2009
409
87
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.
 

JHankwitz

macrumors 68000
Oct 31, 2005
1,907
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Wisconsin
Oh great. Now cables generate heat too? Forget the whole cold fusion pipe dream; I want a heat-free computing experience. It's ridiculous how much heat our devices generate. It's not just wasted energy; it's uncomfortable (& even dangerous).
I guess you missed out on freshman science class. All electrical wires warm up when current is passed through them. Basic Ohms Law. The heat generated is inversley proportional to the wire's cross-section. The thicker the wire, the lower the heat generated.
 

fletch33

macrumors regular
Dec 11, 2008
236
0
Under a Rug
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 :)
 

Consultant

macrumors G5
Jun 27, 2007
13,291
14
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.
Agree. With iCloud, most people have no need for cables.