Matt Cameron is a longtime Mac user and sometime writer for BlackBerry Cool. Around 2004, he was telling everyone who would listen to buy Apple stock.
I want to start an Apple rumor. I haven’t seen anything insider-worthy nor am I anyone of consequence tech guru-wise, but here are the reasons I think iPhone 5 is going to launch with Thunderbolt connectivity.
Apple is supposedly going to change the cable and you’ll be plugging into iDevices. The current iPod connector cable is in millions of pieces of consumer electronics and is close to reaching it’s 8th year in service. Their new cable will have to be micro-USB compatible in Europe but I’m convinced that they’ll handle USB connectivity with a specialized cable. The real future of iOS is in Thunderbolt.
1) People think Thunderbolt is really awesome and think it’s really valuable.
Currently the darling of Mac fans everywhere is Thunderbolt. The wildly fast and flexible serial data interface is faster and cheaper than their optical counterparts. Thunderbolt is versatile too, able to output to RGB, DVI, HDMI and Gigabit ethernet. I also wouldn’t be surprised if you got a faster charge out of Thunderbolt’s 10 W in comparison to USB 2.0’s 5.
2) Thunderbolt is young and can be made cheap if Tim Cook wants.
Blue lasers and Blu Ray players we expensive before the real mass production began. Thunderbolt started off expensive because it was brought to market quickly and represented a big jump in technology for I/O ports. Apple also used higher-priced telecom equipment to make it happen, driving up the costs. With Apple, and Tim Cook in particular, being a whiz with manufacturing and supply chain, they will surely find a way to make this technology cost leaner.
3) The rest of the mobile industry is stuck with USB and HDMI.
By their own design and in an effort to get rid of that dreadful problem of every phone needing its own proprietary charger, the mobile industry is bound to micro-USB. This is Apple’s chance to get way ahead. With Apple’s ability to source fast memory and even faster Micro-USB compatible interconnect, we could see backup and sync speeds advertised by Apple as more than 10 times as fast as iPhone 4s.
I don’t think the iDevices will be outfitted with full-sized Thunderbolt ports, I think they’re going for a smaller port because TB is as wide as a full-sized USB port and won’t really make sense for mobile.
4) Apple retail already has Thunderbolt in full swing in the back of the house.
When a Apple retail customer needs their data off their old Thunderbolt Mac and on to a new Thunderbolt Mac, they use Thunderbolt and it chops tens of minutes off the wait time. Imagine the increase in productivity when people need to transfer an iPhone full of music to the latest model. I think the use case that’ll make everyone want it however is the faster syncing with a Mac. Filling a new iPhone or iPad with music and videos can take just a few minutes provided the storage on the new iPhone is fast too.
5) It will make a nice surprise, and is easy to market.
This is critical when you’re building hype in the mobile era. Apple will be able to really sell the benefits of the use cases of this feature. They’ll tell us that it unlocks the HD video and media capabilities of iDevices because Thunderbolt is way faster than WiFi and USB syncing. The tech press in particular is fixated on the perception of innovation too, which this feature most certainly screams.
If they do the marketing right this new interconnect will seem like a solution for lots of iOS problems.
The cross-marketing between product lines is solid too, as every iPhone 5 owner will feel less than complete without a Thunderbolt enabled Mac or PC.
Bonus: Apple has a mobile patent for Thunderbolt.
I consider this a bonus reason because I read it on the internet some place and it seems to line up with the above.