iPhone, iPad & Thunderbolt: Likely to Feature in Future Models

When the 2011 line of Apple MacBook Pros was released back in February, the feature that caught everybody’s attention was the new Thunderbolt port using Intel Light Peak technology. Many of us began to wonder if this Thunderbolt technology would feature on future versions of the iPhone and iPad and the news today is that it’s looking likely.

For those uninitiated with Thunderbolt technology, in simple terms it’s a feature that offers much faster connections with transfer rate speeds of up to 10Gbps both to and from your device. That’s twenty times quicker than USB 2.0 and double the speed of USB 3.0. It means for instance that a full-length HD film can be transferred in only around 30 seconds. Many of us are awaiting news of the new iMac refresh for 2011 and expecting the addition of the Thunderbolt port, but it appears that Apple is now on the hunt for a “Thunderbolt Software Quality Engineer,” leading to speculation that future versions of the iPhone and iPad will also feature Thunderbolt.

Over on Apple Insider, Neil Hughes reports on the job vacancy that has been advertised by Apple’s corporate hiring site, which is asking for somebody to “play a part in testing new hardware and software that will take advantage of Thunderbolt input/output technology.” This post is not the first Thunderbolt job advertised as two previous vacancies were posted for a another software quality engineer and also a Thunderbolt Firmware/Software engineer. A successful candidate would be experienced with ARM processors and it is this aspect, which makes it look probable that Thunderbolt is being considered for future iPhones and iPads.

A new patent filed by Apple this week for a dock connector modified for high-speed communications such as Thunderbolt, also mentioned a small 30-pin dock connector, like those for the iPhone, iPad and iPod, which we hope is another good pointer. The ipodnn site also reports on the Apple job posting for another Thunderbolt engineer and points out that although there are not many peripherals available yet for Thunderbolt this is likely to change rapidly if Thunderbolt is also adopted for iOS devices.

It may be too late for the iPhone 5 but then again, as there have been many reports that the iPhone 5 may not be available until later in the year, anything is possible! Are you hoping for a move to Thunderbolt for future iPhones and iPads? Let us know with your comments.