Apple “committed” to Thunderbolt despite ARM switch

Apple will use the Intel-designed Thunderbolt USB-C connectivity on its new line of ARM-powered Mac devices later this year despite its recent switch away from other Intel-based technology.

In a statement on Thursday, Apple said that it remains “committed to the future of Thunderbolt” and confirmed that its new Apple Silicon Macs will continue to use “Version 4” of the tech.

Intel unveiled Thunderbolt 4 earlier this year, but it did not reveal the full spec sheet for it until Wednesday (8th July).

Intel said that it will support connections to a single 8K monitor or two 4K monitors and offer full speeds of up to 40Gb/s, which is more than double the 16Gb/s seen in Thunderbolt 3.

Apple’s decision to stick with Thunderbolt is not a complete surprise as it did work with Intel to design a hardware interface back in 2011.

However, Apple’s revelation at WWDC in June that it would start creating its own CPUs internally for Mac devices suggested that it could drop Thunderbolt in the future.

This does not appear to be the case for now and the first Apple Silicon Mac, which is set to go on sale in either Q3 or Q4 2020, should have a Thunderbolt connection.

An Apple spokesperson revealed: “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.”

Apple has also said that it will continue to release Intel Mac computers despite it outlining a roadmap that will see a transition to ARM CPUs over the next two years.

Rumours suggest that the next Mac launch will be an updated iMac with a new design that is similar to the iPad Pro with slimmer bezels, updated internals and flash storage.

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About the author


I've been a passionate evangelist for Apple and the Macintosh throughout my working life, my first love was a Quadra 605 working with a small creative agency in the south of Norfolk UK in the mid 1990's, I later progressed to other roles in other Macintosh dominated industries, first as a Senior graphic designer at a small printing company and then a production manager at Guardian Media Group. As the publishing and printing sector wained I moved into Internet Marketing and in 2006 co-founded which grew to become one the top 200 visited sites in the US (according to Quantcast), at its peak receiving over 15 million visits per month. For the last ten years I have worked as an Affiliate and Consultant to many different business and start ups, my key skill set being online marketing, on page monetisation, landing page optimisation and traffic generation, if you would like to hire me or discuss your current project please reach out to me here.

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