To USB or Not to USB


$800M says Thunderbolt stays Closed

I’m constantly asked: "Will Thunderbolt replace USB 3.0?"

Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 will co-exist & live long, fruitful lives

As reported previously, Apple filed and recieved a patent for a new iPhone or iPad connector which looks  like a Thunderbolt connection. You can see in the picture that it includes connections for USB 3.0 and dual port Displayport.

Apple received the patent in April 2011.  Since it takes at least 3 years to get a patent, we can guess that Apple has known since at least 2008 (probably 2007), it would support USB 3.0.

Apple may or may not have had knowledge of Thunderbolt in 2007.  I can see a world (in 2007) where Apple knew it would want it’s iPad tablet to drive a bigger monitor through DisplayPort.  That could be the original reason for dual DisplayPort and not Thunderbolt.  I can only guess.

Where am I going with this?

  1. Apple uses the PCs chips found in most PCs
  2. Most PCs will move to Ivy Bridge
  3. Ivy Bridge will be found in most PCs
  4. Future Apple PCs will likely use Ivy Bridge
  5. Ivy Bridge has USB 3.0
  6. It’s highly likely Apple will support USB 3.0
  7. Apple patents indicate they’ve planned all along to support USB 3.0

So if you are still with me, Apple will definitely support USB 3.0

Back to the question

Will Thunderbolt overtake USB 3.0?


  1. Faster than USB 3.0 today
  2. Proven
  3. On every Apple mobile PC


  1. Closed Standard restricts the ability to integrate.
  2. Only one company provides discrete chips

The one way Thunderbolt could overtake USB 3.0 is if Thunderbolt opens up as a standard.

USB 3.0 will have more than 100 design starts for SoC integration

The USB-IF has something like 4000 members. By the end of this year, there will be about 200 different USB 3.0 Design starts.  Thats lots of people innovating products around USB.

Thunderbolt is closed.  It will stay closed.  This video explains why:


So the Innovator that designed Thunderbolt makes money from customers like Apple, Acer, and Lenovo that ship Thunderbolt.  Big piles of money.  People that need/want Thunderbolt pay for Thunderbolt.

The innovator promotes USB 3.0 for mainstream ease of use.  Consumers are happy.

Thunderbolt closed.  USB open.

Everyone is happy.



Try and Subscribe.

I dare you.


Apparently we’ve sold a bunch of DDR.

There was cake.

I ate 2 pieces.

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