Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!


macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

The new M1-equipped MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini are each equipped with two USB-C ports that support USB 4 and Thunderbolt, but as it turns out, Apple is continuing to use Thunderbolt 3 rather than upgrading the new models to Thunderbolt 4.


Intel in July shared details on Thunderbolt 4, which is coming out in new PCs with Tiger Lake processors. Thunderbolt 4 offers the same 40Gb/s maximum speeds available through Thunderbolt 3, but it does bring some notable improvements, such as support for docks with four downstream Thunderbolt ports. From Intel:
  • Double the minimum video and data requirements of Thunderbolt 3.
  • Video: Support for two 4K displays or one 8K display.
  • Data: PCIe at 32 Gbps for storage speeds up to 3,000 MBps.
  • Support for docks with up to four Thunderbolt 4 ports.
  • PC charging on at least one computer port.
  • Wake your computer from sleep by touching the keyboard or mouse when connected to a Thunderbolt dock.
  • Required Intel VT-d-based direct memory access (DMA) protection that helps prevent physical DMA attacks.
Intel has also designed new cables that support Thunderbolt 4 and USB 4, with longer lengths that don't compromise the 40Gb/s speeds. Thunderbolt 4 uses the same physical USB-C connector design, and Thunderbolt 4 ports and cables are backward and cross-compatible with USB 4, Thunderbolt 3, and other USB standards.

Apple's M1 Macs, which include the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini, are available for purchase today and will begin arriving to customers on November 17.

Article Link: New M1 Mac Models Feature Thunderbolt 3 Ports, Not Newer Thunderbolt 4
  • Wow
Reactions: Lahmy88


macrumors 6502a
Nov 19, 2018
Doesn’t bother me as Thunderbolt 4 doesn’t even raise the maximum transmission speed. It’s mostly just about raising the minimum standards for things like maximum display resolution, and Apple already makes some of the most capable Thunderbolt ports in the industry.


macrumors G4
Aug 17, 2007
Seattle, WA
Rushed? Not really. When Apple first moved from PowerPC to Intel, the form factors were identical, just the guts were changed. That we're seeing the same with the first models moving from Intel to ASi is not surprising to me.

Intel is just releasing TB4 with Tiger Lake so Apple staying with TB3 for the moment is not much of an issue, IMO. I imagine these uses an off-the-shelf TB3 controller tied into the M1 (which looks a fair bit like an A14X).


Sep 25, 2018
Temecula, CA
Interesting, so I’m guessing the actual Intel TB4 Chios aren’t available yet (delayed ?) plus they might have to talk licensing still (since Apple just ditched Intel for CPU)... plus it could be due to cost concerns.
I doubt that TB4 will be excluded from the mid/high tier AS though...

and for the target audience of these new laptops, probably ok with TB3...
  • Like
Reactions: ajfahey and Lahmy88


macrumors 6502
Sep 1, 2020
I think my mbp can eek out a couple more years. I don't need too much, but my 13in from 2014 still does zoom about as badly as any other computer with 720p cam, and by next year (or two), all the VSCode extensions I need should work. Maybe by then they'll have removed the touch bar and included a touch screen (option?) to test touch apps with instead.


macrumors 68000
Jun 23, 2007
These technically may be USB4 ports but with TB3 compatibility as allowed for in the spec. Apple just have to make a marketing noise to make people remember that TB3 is still on the table. The full TB4 will just encompass more of the USB spec while TB5 is the one where we get the doubling of bandwidth that was assumed with TB4.


macrumors P6
Oct 23, 2010
Anyone get the feeling that these were rushed? They're more like proof-of-concepts. I guess I'll wait a bit to see what's in store for 2021. Or maybe 2022. Or I bet there'll be big improvements for 2023.
These are big volume sellers, so they are more than proofs of concept. It seems apparent the current designs had Apple Silicon in mind. I do expect more radical redesigns in the future, but the first step is to make the transition. It was the same when they switched to Intel in 2005. The first models were basically PowerBooks with Intel chips.


macrumors 6502
Jun 17, 2007
Lake Worth, FL
That’s not what it says when checking out in the Apple Store...


  • 604774FB-90B9-4C60-8A9A-E7BFB54A4919.png
    821 KB · Views: 168


macrumors member
Jun 19, 2018
Same body, new engine. Will wait for the new body style before upgrading. Maybe something lighter OR a MacBook Air with 1080P camera. World has changed and there are more video calls, WFH these days.
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.