The new MacBook Pro computers, announced last week, have a new data connection port: Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt is like USB and FireWire except that it’s super crazy fast. It was created by Intel as a way to transmit video and audio as well as data.
Q and A on Thunderbolt:
What does the Thunderbolt port look like?
It looks like a slightly taller USB port, with angled corners at the bottom, and is a little bit smaller than a USB port.
How fast is the data transfer with Thunderbolt?
10 Gbps (gigabits per second). Apple’s website says it’s “more than 12 times faster than FireWire 800 and up to 20 times faster than USB 2.0.”
Can you connect more than one device through a Thunderbolt port?
Yes, you can daisy chain multiple devices without needing a hub.
What else is Thunderbolt designed for?
You can export video to a display and import video from a video camera. For example, you can transfer a full-length HD movie using Thunderbolt in 30 seconds (as per Intel).
Does Thunderbolt have another name?
Thunderbolt was also called Light Peak by Intel.
Is this related to the HTC Thunderbolt smartphone, available from Verizon?
Nope. Just bad luck that they share a name.
Articles from around the web on Thunderbolt:
TidBITS article on Secrets of Thunderbolt and Lion, which includes lots of details on how it works
Macworld article: What you need to know about Thunderbolt
NY Times blog post about Thunderbolt, and why it may not be relevant to most Mac users
Computer and Home Entertainment Cables, Deciphered
Everything you wanted to know about Mac video ports but were afraid to ask