USB-C likely to be used across the future MacBook range as Intel integrates … – 9 to 5 Mac (blog)


The USB-C port first introduced by Apple in the new 12-inch MacBook looks likely to be used across the MacBook range as Intel has adopted the standard for Thunderbolt 3.

Thunderbolt was developed to simultaneously support the fastest data and most video bandwidth available on a single cable, while also supplying power. Then recently the USB group introduced the USB-C connector, which is small, reversible, fast, supplies power, and allows other I/O in addition to USB to run on it, maximizing its potential. So in the biggest advancement since its inception, Thunderbolt 3 brings Thunderbolt to USB-C at 40Gbps, fulfilling its promise, creating one compact port that does it all. 

Apple was an early adopter of the Thunderbolt standard, which allowed a single port to be used for both high-speed data transfer and DisplayPort monitor connections. Intel’s integration of the two standards would allow Apple to replace the Thunderbolt port in the MacBook Pro range while still maintaining full compatibility with existing peripherals … 

Thunderbolt 3 doubles the speed of Thunderbolt 2 to 40Gbps, allowing high-speed transfer of large files, as well as support for high-resolution external monitors. Intel notes that the standard supports the simultaneous use of two 4K monitors at 60Hz.


An adapter will maintain compatibility with existing Thunderbolt 2 devices. Intel says that the first Thunderbolt 3 devices will begin shipping “before the end of the year.”

While the development strengthens the case for USB-C, it’s unlikely that Apple would adopt the radical single-port approach for MacBook Pro machines, where it’s common for professional users to connect multiple devices simultaneously. We’re most likely to see the existing Thunderbolt port replaced with one or two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt capability.

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21 Responses to “USB-C likely to be used across the future MacBook range as Intel integrates with Thunderbolt”

  1. So this needs special USB-C ports that offer USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 at the same time?
    I want to buy an external display with retina quality, so I’m waiting for this to come to the 15″ rMBP


    • presslee says:

      No this means Thunderbolt 3 has the same conector as USB c. So its a usb connector, its the all new standard Tubderbold 3. But its backwards compatible with usb c because of the same conector. Just like Tunderbolt 2 and mini displayport

      Liked by 2 people

      • irelandjnr says:

        And Android phones and tablets are also going with this port. Let’s hope iOS devices go with this too. It’s the holy grail to have the world predominantly on the same port.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. memuslism says:

    As much of a pain this transition will be, having one standard port and cable is great news. The display port is dead. Only a matter of time now before lightning goes away. The USB-C cable the most user-friendly of them all as it is the same connector on both ends and those connectors are reversible. Looking forward to this across the board. Finally may now bit the bullet on a Skylake 5K iMac that includes USB-C; a clean, crisp and beautiful machine.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. So a rollout with Skylake at the end of the year or early next year.

    My guess is complete remakes of the MacBook Pros and IMac early next spring. Slimmer more powerful ports, smaller more efficient and powerful processors translates into a great time to update both lines.

    This announcement. Gives me more reason to wait to get a new Mac. Hopefully Skylake has a smooth release. Thunderbolt 3 looks to be the most promising version interface port.


    • irelandjnr says:

      Let’s hope slimmer laptops for Apple don’t mean the same keyboard as the new MacBook it’s not nice to type on and definitely not for me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It wouldn’t be hard for them to go for 14″ and 16″ displays with a footprint close to the current 13″ and 15″ models. I don’t see them touching the keyboards on the Pros.

        Liked by 3 people

      • irelandjnr says:



      • krsooo says:

        Unfortunately I fear that this is exactly what Apple will do. The keys look nicer, but are worse to use. Yay Apple! Hopefully they’ll at least increase the travel distance the key has to make because right now it feels like its under a millimeter.


  4. So the other day 9to5 posted the article about the new MBPr 15 and I was saying I would wait until they released it with the USB-C connections. I don’t think we are going to have to wait until 2016 for this. I think this is a 2015 Fall product release.


    • Intel says the release will not its stride in 2016. If it hits an Apple product this year it will be the 13 inch MacBook Pro.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. With Intel now getting fully behind usb c will this be the end for lightning ports and cables on idevices?

    Liked by 1 person

    • uniszuurmond says:

      I’m hoping it’ll happen sooner rather than later. Would simplify everyone’s life.


    • r00fus1 says:

      I don’t see Lightning (i.e., 8-pin for iOS devices) going away anytime soon. Thunderbolt / mini display port for sure – but I didn’t have much love for that connector anyway.


  6. hungarianhc says:

    This made my day. I can’t wait for my USB-C / Thunderbolt 3 based MacBook Pro!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. irelandjnr says:

    And across iOS devices please too!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Glad to see that apple is stay up-to date on the latest and greatest technologies available…


  9. srgmac says:

    This is pretty cool but I will always miss magsafe…Magnetic cables are not just a good idea, they’re a really good idea. Wish they could have found some way to keep the magsafe technology with newer connectors. Getting thunderbolt to work with USB-C is great though — the USB-C cables can provide a ton of power — so that means we’ll probably be seeing more bus-powered thunderbolt devices; there really is no reason that newer thunderbolt products should require a separate power brick after this change.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. tomtubbs says:

    Smart move – type c across the board, and they can add TB3 behind the scenes for the more powerful Macs without need for extra ports.
    So type c connector could power, TB3, USB, display port ports of current Macs – that give more room to thin the MBP,
    And gives Mac Pro a way to handle TB3 speeds with limited PCI-E lane headroom.
    Also gives a chance to see a lovely new 5K ACD?


  11. rettun1 says:

    Suddenly everything makes much more sense. I was worried USB C was going to share the same fate as thunderbolt, only being used by a small group of the (already sorta small) apple base. But now I see a future with MacBook pros that have lines of USB C ports. Though there will need to be some changes ahead, for instance with the Mac Pro. I’d expect refresh with all USB C on the back (maybe 2 usb 3). That machine would be nearly future proof.


  12. So long as they give us at least two of the little f***ers I’ll be ok once the pain of transition is over.

    Had to set up my first new MacBook for a faculty member today…stared stupidly at my USB stick holding all our default installs and the total lack of a way to plug it in.

    Oh, I’ll just plug in my thunderbolt-to-gig etherne…oops. Guess we’re downloading the MS office installer over wifi. :-(

    Gotta get a whole new buncha adapters to dangle on my desk.



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