Could Apple’s choice to feature Thunderbolt and not USB 3.0 in its new MacBook Pro laptops be a sign of things to come? Maybe so, according to a story by DigiTimes. The report quotes "sources from PC players" who reckon Thunderbolt "may greatly affect USB 3.0 application in the future."
In a nutshell, the sources believe USB 3.0 may end up as a transitional technology, while Thunderbolt will "become the finalized next-generation transmission technology."
As DigiTimes points out, that kind of thinking is at odds with Intel’s official position, which is that USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt are complementary. Intel VP Kirk Skaugen reportedly went so far as to tell attendees at IDF Beijing last week, "We encourage all of you working on peripherals around the PC to engage on both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt."
I’m guessing PC makers might be more eager to comply if Intel hadn’t dragged its feet on implementing chipset-level USB 3.0 support. However, with Apple already blazing the Thunderbolt trail and USB 3.0-capable Intel chipsets not due out until next year, USB 3.0’s future may be bleak.