New Macbook Pro 2011: No USB 3.0, Thunderbolt Price Worries

By Jamie Pert - Mar 7, 2011

Previously we have looked at how Intel’s Thunderbolt wipes the floor with USB 3.0 and eSATA, however one thing which we have not spoken about is whether this means that Apple will not feature USB 3.0 connectivity in any of their future products, also will Apple Thunderbolt compliant devices and cables be a lot more expensive than comparable USB 3.0 options?

Pretty much all the mid-high-end laptops we are seeing released these days feature at least one USB 3.0 port, the fact that Apple’s recently unveiled new Macbook Pro does not feature any USB 3.0 ports suggests that Apple may completely snub the 5Gbps technology in favor of Thunderbolt’s super-fast 10Gbps speeds, but this may not necessarily be a good thing.

Obviously in terms of computing many of us think that faster technology is the best technology, however with Windows-based computers favoring USB 3.0 and Apple products seemingly preferring Thunderbolt things may get interesting and potentially expensive.

Our biggest concern is that it may make things frustrating for the end-user, let’s imagine that you want to buy an external hard drive, however you have a Windows-based desktop and a new Macbook Pro, obviously you could buy a USB 2.0 or FireWire 800 device, however this will mean that you have to endure speeds of up to 480 Mbps and 800 Mbps respectively, which will seem sluggish compared to USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt variants.

There is always a chance that an adapter will be created which will allow USB 3.0 devices to run at full speed when plugged into a Thunderbolt port, however this means consumers will have to buy the adapter (which we doubt will be cheap from the Apple Store), also as there is only one Thunderbolt port on the new Macbook Pro it will mean that a USB 3.0 adapter can only be used when the Thunderbolt port is unused, which is far from perfect.

One thing we are unsure about is whether or not other laptop / desktop manufacturers will be allowed to feature the Thunderbolt port on their future products, apparently Intel and Apple worked together on the tech, therefore there may be a patent which keeps Thunderbolt exclusive to Apple.

Do you think that Apple should feature USB 3.0 ports on their future products?

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Also See: WWDC 2018 event dated early for iOS 12, new iPad Pro?

  • Unhappy MacBook Pro Owner

    Apple needs to stop being so arrogant and meet its consumers’ needs. I want an adapter to plug into thunderbolt to use USB3.0 devices. I am tired of Apple promises with no delivery. I was mislead into buying a MacBook Pro in March 2011 because of the speed of thunderbolt, which has not materialized. It is too expensive and not readily available at a reasonable cost. I will settle for USB 3.0 as better than the nothing I have had to put up with. Apple, get off your collective asses and put out a reasonably priced adapter for the rest of us.

  • Peter

    There is no split between Windows and Mac when it comes to IO. The true driving factor here is Intel.
    Macs will adept USB 3.0 when everybody will adopt then, that is when Intel finally integrates them into their chipset.
    And Apple certainly doesn't want to keep Thunderbolt to themselves. What good is an IO port, if nobody else uses it?!

  • Bo F

    Price estimate, anyone?

  • Mike

    I agree, badly researched with more than one incorrect assertion.

  • jeff is a great resource for finding information – If you search for "thunderbolt" you'll find a slew of articles that answer the questions you pose, dear Jamie…

  • Jeigh

    I am sorry, but this is just a horribly researched article. There is plenty of information out there, I don't know why you didn't just Google it. To answer one of your many pseudo-mysterious questions. Apple has exclusivity to Thunderbolt, for one year; after that it is wide open. In a years time, there will be plenty of peripheral devices. Of course there will be a slightly higher price tag at first, like all things tech. 10gps going in both directions is 300% faster then usb 3. Wouldn't you pay a little more?