Apple’s move to its own Apple Silicon for Macs has raised a lot of questions. Among them, many users have wondered if the Macs would support Thunderbolt 3 or not, especially since the Apple Silicon Developer Transition Kit from Apple lacked Thunderbolt 3 connectivity.
Apple has now confirmed that its future Macs will continue to feature Thunderbolt support despite not using Intel processors.
“Over a decade ago, Apple partnered with Intel to design and develop Thunderbolt, and today our customers enjoy the speed and flexibility it brings to every Mac. We remain committed to the future of Thunderbolt and will support it in Macs with Apple silicon,” commented an Apple spokesperson, in a statement to The Verge.
Intel owns the technology behind Thunderbolt 3 but the company made it royalty-free a few years ago to help its widespread adoption. Apple also worked closely with Intel on the development of the Thunderbolt 3 standard and has been at the forefront of adopting the technology on Macs. The company has not yet used the Thunderbolt standard on any of its non-Intel devices though. The Apple Silicon Macs will also be the first major non-Intel machines to feature Thunderbolt 3 support as there are very limited AMD Ryzen motherboards featuring Thunderbolt 3 connectivity.
The confirmation comes on the same day as Intel detailed the Thunderbolt 4 standard. It will continue to use the USB-C connector and will be based on the USB4 spec. While it does not bring any additional speed improvements, it will offer new features including support for cables that are up to 2m long, docks with support for four Thunderbolt ports, and PCIe connections of up to 32GB/s — up from the existing 16Gb/s which should benefit external GPUs and storage drives. The first PCs with Thunderbolt 4 are expected to hit the market later this year. It remains to be seen if Apple will also adopt Thunderbolt 4 instead of Thunderbolt 3 for its Apple Silicon Macs.[Via The Verge]