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Apple's new 9-pin Dock Connector for iPhone 5 may support USB 3.0

post #1 of 61
Thread Starter 
While Apple's new Dock Connector for iPhone 5 has been assumed to simply allow for a smaller physical port, the number of pins it uses coincides with the emerging USB 3.0 standard, which supports transfers up to 5 Gbps.

Apple hasn't yet introduced any technical specifications for the new iPhone 5 Dock Connector, so its pinouts and physical shape have only been evident from spy photos of components.

However, Apple's latest crop of Macs have all adopted support for USB 3.0, an interesting development simply because Apple has also put its weight behind Thunderbolt, an even faster data interconnect that supports 20Gbps transfers.

Why not Thunderbolt?



However, Thunderbolt not only requires 20 pin connectors but also requires an Intel-designed chip that multiplexes DisplayPort video with PCI Express signals. While modern Macs have Intel chips and support a PCIe architecture, no iOS devices do.

Instead, they use ARM architecture chips with no PCIe interface, and generate VGA/HDMI video rather than Display Port signals. That rules out any support for Thunderbolt and its blazing fast speeds that iOS devices couldn't make any effective use of anyway.

However, Intel's parallel USB specification can work on any architecture; Apple's ARM-based iPods have supported USB 2.0 since Apple first introduced its 30-pin connector on the third generation iPods in 2003.

That's when Apple began transitioning from Firewire (widespread on Macs at the time but rare on PCs) to USB. And that transition only happened as USB 2.0 began to offer speeds competitive with Firewire (the first generation of USB was very slow, providing a significant edge to Firewire in terms of sync time).

Why USB 3.0?



Apple has shifted the pin out assignments of its existing 30-pin Dock Connector several times over the past nine years, finally ending support for Firewire while adding features such as HDMI video output.

With the advent of last year's AirPlay wireless video distribution and iOS 5's WiFi sync, the need for a bulky connector supplying 30 pins of wired connectivity has diminished. However, as iOS devices gain storage capacity and as apps, photos and particularly 1080p high definition videos balloon in size, the need for a faster sync method has increased.

By shifting its iOS Dock Connector to USB 3.0, Apple could gain the ability to sync data at much faster speeds, with transfers reaching 5Gbps, ten times faster than the top 480Mbps rate of USB 2.0.

Docking cable


Doing so now would also allow Apple to essentially own the USB 3.0 Dock peripheral market, because it is using a proprietary connector, similar to the MagSafe power adapters it added to MacBooks (killing the third party market for Mac power adapters).

Slow progress for USB 3.0 so far



While a variety of PC makers have added USB 3.0 support to their computers, many well ahead of Apple (which only started supporting USB 3.0 on new Macs this summer), the new standard hasn't aggressively taken off. Many new PCs sport two sets of USB connectors: one only supporting USB 2.0 while special blue-colored ports handle the faster USB 3.0. Apple's newest Macs support both standards on all their USB ports.

PC adoption of USB 3.0 peripherals was also stymied by the fact that Microsoft's Windows 7 didn't support USB 3.0 from the start, as well as growing pains related to buggy drivers, chipsets and motherboard BIOS that have all hampered the new specification's launch much the same way that the original USB failed to rapidly take off in the mid 1990s.

That is, until Apple added USB to the original iMac in 1998 as the only way to connect peripherals. After that occured, devices supporting USB 1.0 exploded. Other PC makers continued to ship older PS/2 keyboards and mice well into the next decade, simply because they were slightly cheaper.

Apple has similarly taken over control of other emerging standards, including DisplayPort, which was only in minor use before Apple added it to its Macs across the board using a smaller "Mini DisplayPort" connector. Most PCs still ship with HDMI/DVI or even VGA ports, which Apple abandoned many years ago.

Adding USB 3.0 support to the iPhone 5 and iPod touch (and upcoming iPad and iPad mini models) would give Apple a fast new advantage in sync rates, comparable to the lead the first iPods enjoyed over other MP3 players on the market shackled to the much slower USB 1.0.



While some Android licenses have already shipped devices with support for USB 3.0, they've used the standard "B" peripheral USB 3.0 ports, which like full sized DisplayPort, are much larger and bulkier than necessary.
post #2 of 61

USB 3 makes more sense for iDevices. The huge install base for one, TB does not have that many users yet.  Thunderbolt is for higher end stuff. Too many people seem to forget that moving to thunderbolt would not magically make transfers faster, those are limited by NAND speed even before they hit USB 2.0 limits. The flash memory in these devices is more like USB drives than SSDs, it's low power. 

post #3 of 61

Wow, AI, are you serious??

 

Of course it's going to be USB 3, did anyone think it wasnt going to be USB 3? Why else would Apple be adding USB 3 to the Macs.

 

Tomorrow the iMac and Mac mini will get USB 3 too. I need to start throwing this stuff out to you guys way in advance, I assumed it had been covered already

post #4 of 61
Thanks Daniel, consider my attitude adjusted.

Hadn't really thought about this before and you provide a very plausible upgrade path. I've got a very old iPod with a 30-pin connector. It is time.
post #5 of 61
Quote:
However, Thunderbolt not only requires 20 pin connectors but also requires an Intel-designed chip that multiplexes DisplayPort video with PCI Express signals. While modern Macs have Intel chips and support a PCIe architecture, no iOS devices do.

So Thunderbolt HDDs and monitors have Intel chips in them that no iOS device could have? They have Intel chips because Intel created the HW but it's not because iDevices use ARM that makes it technically impossible to do.

And why would anyone expect an iOS device to be used for the full TB spec of being able to accept and transmit DP instead of just being compatible for data to a TB capable PC? Not that it would make sense since USB 2.0 isn't the current bottleneck on data rates, but I don't get the rationale being applied to this.

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post #6 of 61
Originally Posted by MDJCM View Post
Of course it's going to be USB 3, did anyone think it wasnt going to be USB 3?

 

Plenty of people think Thunderbolt.


Why else would Apple be adding USB 3 to the Macs.

 

It's part of the Ivy Bridge spec natively. Why did you think they WAITED until they could not go without adding it?


Tomorrow the iMac and Mac mini will get USB 3 too.

 

I doubt that. It's an iPhone event. Apple won't be updating every single product they make on the same day. I should probably start telling people THAT in advance…

 

Originally Posted by tipoo View Post
The huge install base for one, TB does not have that many users yet.

 

I would greatly prefer a cable that branched to both Thunderbolt and USB from Dock Connector 2.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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post #7 of 61
I don't think it will be "official" support even if it's there. Apple will never use those stupid bright blue connectors and thus it will technically fail the spec.
post #8 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I would greatly prefer a cable that branched to both Thunderbolt and USB from Dock Connector 2.

That will never happen. If TB on iDevices is feasible (which I don't think it is, but for reasons not even addressed in the article) I would expect it to be a separate cable, and one that is sold outside of the product.

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post #9 of 61
How will the dock connector handle things the current dock connector does, like video, audio, controlling playback, etc.?

Even if it's USB 2.0 only, I still don't see enough pins to do that, unless Apple somehow overloads the functionality of some of the pins depending on the device that's connected.
post #10 of 61
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post
That will never happen.

 

Really? For a physical reason or just a personal belief about what Apple would do? 

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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post #11 of 61
Whatever interface this new connector supports now, it will be capable of supporting other interfaces in the future. The circuitry inside iOS devices is capable of recognizing and reconfiguring as needed, just as the iPod Shuffle headphone connector automatically switches between analog headphone signals and digital USB signals.

So we might see USB 2.0 (or maybe 3.0) now and Thunderbolt in the future. As stated elsewhere, the interface is not currently the bottleneck, unless the new iPhone has much faster Flash storage.
post #12 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Really? For a physical reason or just a personal belief about what Apple would do? 

Just a belief that Apple will never make a Y-shaped cable will plug into both USB and TB. It adds cost, potential issues, but most importantly, it's ugly.

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post #13 of 61
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post
Just a belief that Apple will never make a Y-shaped cable will plug into both USB and TB. It adds cost, potential issues, but most importantly, it's ugly.

 

They did with USB and FireWire. My mother got one with her old 4th gen iPod. Here it is!

 

Huh, but I have to find hers… Seem to have misplaced it. That's what I get for wanting all my family's old tech.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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post #14 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by MDJCM View Post

Wow, AI, are you serious??

 

Of course it's going to be USB 3, did anyone think it wasnt going to be USB 3? Why else would Apple be adding USB 3 to the Macs.

 

Tomorrow the iMac and Mac mini will get USB 3 too. I need to start throwing this stuff out to you guys way in advance, I assumed it had been covered already

 

If you do a Google search of USB 3.0 and Dock Connector, you don't currently see any matches. Lots of people have been speculating about Thunderbolt however.

post #15 of 61
My god AI has broken a record today for totally obvious posts. Slow news day it is.

As it is I'm really thinking these pins will be multi functional. For one introducing a new port without analog out just seems beyond stupid.

As for TB, would people get a grip it is an entirely different class of port compared to USB. the arguement about Intel is bull crap anyways, Apple would not adopt such a port without the option of alternative processors even if they had to implement the bridge chip themselves. Right now though I suspect the port is simply more power hungery than Apple wants to deal with.
post #16 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


So Thunderbolt HDDs and monitors have Intel chips in them that no iOS device could have? They have Intel chips because Intel created the HW but it's not because iDevices use ARM that makes it technically impossible to do.
And why would anyone expect an iOS device to be used for the full TB spec of being able to accept and transmit DP instead of just being compatible for data to a TB capable PC? Not that it would make sense since USB 2.0 isn't the current bottleneck on data rates, but I don't get the rationale being applied to this.

 

Thunderbolt is PCIe+DisplayPort, and requires a host computer with an Intel chip. Not sure why you're talking about Thunderbolt peripherals. Can you plug a Thunderbolt HDD into a Thunderbolt Monitor and do anything? No, you need a Thunderbolt PC attached to do anything with them.

 

Think of Thunderbolt as an external, cable form of a PCIe slot. PCs have them. Mobile devices do not. They have USB serial ports. 

 

While AMD could possibly implement something similar, it hasn't (and can't freely duplicate it because the underlying technology is proprietary to Intel). Same thing with ARM, except that ARM is completely different from x86 and has no need to support an interface like PCIe. Everything on mobile iOS devices is USB. There is no PCIe architecture on ARM devices. 

 

Also, Thunderbolt without the DisplayPort is PCIe. Again, mobile devices don't have that.

 

Also, the 30 pin dock connector was created in 2003 with room to expand. It wasn't fully exploited on 3G iPods. You can expect that Apple's new connector is designed to last several years, and the speed advantage of USB 3.0 is only going to get more important.

 

Also, why do you suppose Apple added USB 3.0 to its new Macs this summer? To take advantage of all those new USB 3.0 peripherals that don't exist? The only things available are HDDs. You think Apple wanted to create some quarter-speed competition for Thunderbolt?  

post #17 of 61
I can't imagine Apple is dropping audio/video etc. support over the connector. All existing accessories would be obsolete. Not a big deal if it's a dock for $50 but I wouldn't like to see support for an almost new car gone 1wink.gif

By the way, what do we need USB3.0 for? Most people don't sync over cable anymore and I guess apple will be guiding us towards the cloud anyway.
post #18 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

My god AI has broken a record today for totally obvious posts. Slow news day it is.
As it is I'm really thinking these pins will be multi functional. For one introducing a new port without analog out just seems beyond stupid.
As for TB, would people get a grip it is an entirely different class of port compared to USB. the arguement about Intel is bull crap anyways, Apple would not adopt such a port without the option of alternative processors even if they had to implement the bridge chip themselves. Right now though I suspect the port is simply more power hungery than Apple wants to deal with.

 

Speaking of totally obvious posts (!)

 

It's not impossible that the new connector could be configured to use different pins in different modes, but that isn't news, as that's how the existing connector works. HDMI itself requires 19 pins, VGA 15. When you connect a cable, you can extract either. Clearly it isn't using a dedicated pin assignment as 19+15 > 30 already. 

 

But with AirPlay, why would you want to connect your iPhone to your TV with a fancy cable that costs nearly as much as Apple TV?

 

And analog what out? The headphone gives you analog audio. You want analog composite video? For what, to hook up your VCR? It's 2012. 

 

"the arguement about Intel is bull crap anyways"

 

No it's not. Show me a Thunderbolt interface on a non-Intel host system.

post #19 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corrections View Post

No, you need a Thunderbolt PC attached to do anything with them.

Think of Thunderbolt as an external, cable form of a PCIe slot. PCs have them. Mobile devices do not.

But you wouldn't plug an iPhone into another iPhone, you'd plug it into another "PC". If the iPhone had the required TB chip and there was a TB dock connector cable, and you plugged it into a Mac's TB port why isn't any different than taking an external HDD with a TB chip and with a TB cable and plugging it to a Mac's TB port? it's not! There are cost, size, adoption, power, usefulness and many other reasons why it's not feasible but to say that you can't connect the iPhone to TB as a peripheral because it's not a "PC" running a modern Intel CPU and chipset is bullshit.

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post #20 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

So Thunderbolt HDDs and monitors have Intel chips in them that no iOS device could have? They have Intel chips because Intel created the HW but it's not because iDevices use ARM that makes it technically impossible to do.

The chips in the HDDs and monitors are client chips, relatively dumb compared to the host chips in the Mac. If the iPhone was a client device, it'd have to turn the PCIe comms from TB to something the ARM CPU could understand, which'd waste a lot of CPU cycles. Right now the iPhone couldn't be a TB host, the TB controller chip is about half the width of the phone itself. But in any case, the ARM CPU doesn't have PCIe by any stretch of the imagination, so it just wouldn't make any sense at all. Also the TB to Dock Connector cable would cost the same as 20 USB to Dock Connector cables.

I don't think the iPhone 5 will have USB 3. That doesn't mean the Dock Connector 2 won't support USB 3 in the future, but it's probably more likely on the iPhone 5S, and most likely on the 6. AFAIK, the ARM chips don't support it yet, and I'm pretty sure Apple won't waste board space with a dedicated USB 3 chip when it won't provide any advantage. Especially as current USB 3 chips are huge, and drink juice. Apple's not in the business of adding X or Y feature just coz they can, they'll only add something that provides a real use. When ARM/Apple build a USB 3 controller into the CPU itself, where it can just sip power and will use little room, we'll see USB3. Right now the bottleneck isn't the external communications, it's the NAND, which tops out at around 10MB/sec. USB 2 is ~20-25MB/sec.
Edited by Elijahg - 9/11/12 at 6:05pm
post #21 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple's new 9-pin Dock Connector for iPhone 5 may support USB 3.0

 

 

I have realized this ever since USB 3.0 was included with the MacBook Pros. It just makes sense.

post #22 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by sirdir View Post

I can't imagine Apple is dropping audio/video etc. support over the connector. All existing accessories would be obsolete. Not a big deal if it's a dock for $50 but I wouldn't like to see support for an almost new car gone 1wink.gif
By the way, what do we need USB3.0 for? Most people don't sync over cable anymore and I guess apple will be guiding us towards the cloud anyway.

 

It's not necessarily impossible to extract video signals over the same pinouts, but for what?

 

If you use your iPhone in your car, it makes sense to use Bluetooth, or, if you're really old fashioned, the headphone jack. 

 

The point isn't that the new connector is ONLY USB 3.0, but that is likely NEWLY supporting USB 3.0. 

 

Also, it's very useful to sync over USB already, and that is only getting more important as HD videos get larger. And do you suppose this might change over the next five-ten years? How fast is bandwidth going to get? LTE is 40mbps in cities. That's good, but its no 5,000Mbps.

post #23 of 61

Don't I wish...

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post #24 of 61
Daniel, I think you mean USB 1.1 (which is what the iMac shipped with)
post #25 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


But you wouldn't plug an iPhone into another iPhone, you'd plug it into another "PC". If the iPhone had the required TB chip and there was a TB dock connector cable, and you plugged it into a Mac's TB port why isn't any different than taking an external HDD with a TB chip and with a TB cable and plugging it to a Mac's TB port? it's not! There are cost, size, adoption, power, usefulness and many other reasons why it's not feasible but to say that you can't connect the iPhone to TB as a peripheral because it's not a "PC" running a modern Intel CPU and chipset is bullshit.

 

So when you plug a USB Dock accessory into an iOS device, is it a host then? Or does in invent some new peer to peer form of USB that doesn't exist?

 

What exactly are you arguing? That it makes sense for a iPhone to be a Thunderbolt peripheral, even though Thunderbolt makes no sense on a mobile device? I'm saying that it makes no sense for Apple to move from USB 2 to Thunderbolt, but it does makes sense to move to USB 3.0 at some point, and that the new cable could facilitate that. 

 

Sounds like you're just being argumentative. 

post #26 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corrections View Post

So when you plug a USB Dock accessory into an iOS device, is it a host then? Or does in invent some new peer to peer form of USB that doesn't exist?

What exactly are you arguing? That it makes sense for a iPhone to be a Thunderbolt peripheral, even though Thunderbolt makes no sense on a mobile device? I'm saying that it makes no sense for Apple to move from USB 2 to Thunderbolt, but it does makes sense to move to USB 3.0 at some point, and that the new cable could facilitate that. 

Sounds like you're just being argumentative. 

I've clearly stated many times that I don't think TB on an IDevice is feasible but you're not seeing what is possible because one part of the total device has an ARM ASIC. As my examples should clearly show you can have a device that supports TB that doesn't have the Intel chipset that is required to host TB. Apple could use the same setup as every other TB connected device to allow data transmissions between a Mac/WinPC with a TB port and a peripheral device.



edit: Here is an image from a teardown of an ATD.


RED: Pericom PI7C9X440SL PCIe-to-USB 2.0 host controller
ORANGE: L129NB11 EFL, which looks to be the Thunderbolt port controller

Where is the Intel Nehalem microarchitecture and Core processors it's suppose to have to be able to access data from a host device that supports TB?
Edited by SolipsismX - 9/11/12 at 6:44pm

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post #27 of 61

Maybe. But USB would greatly complicate both iPod and iOS device accessories - docks, speakers, chargers, car accessories, etc. (This same smaller dock connector has to trickle down to the iPods too don't forget.) It would also increase Apple's unit manufacturing costs, particularly for the lower-margin iPods, and hurt profit margins. USB 3.0 isn't as cheap as 2.0 yet and even 2.0 probably costs more than the current 30-pin dock connector.

 

Currently building accessories is relatively simple -- a license from Apple and no real software or drivers required (just listen on and talk on the required subset of the 30-pins needed for the accessory in question). If they go USB 3.0 suddenly the accessories will need USB drivers and other software built-in as well as more expensive and complicated circuitry and chipsets. The cost to design, build and maintain them will be substantially higher and likely the variety of accessories will be much smaller than now. Why Apple would want to kill the vibrant 3rd party accessory market that has helped sell so many iPods, iPhones and iPads I don't know.
 

post #28 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I've clearly stated many times that I don't think TB on an IDevice is feasible but you're not seeing what is possible because one part of the total device has an ARM ASIC. As my examples should clearly show you can have a device that supports TB that doesn't have the Intel chipset that is required to host TB. Apple could use the same setup as every other TB connected device to allow data transmissions between a Mac/WinPC with a TB port and a peripheral device.

Please read my previous post which answers this. Yes it'd be possible to have an iPhone with Thunderbolt, but it would be pointless and power hungry. Who needs 10gbps to their phone? It'd need a chip to convert the TB signal to PCIe, then from PCIe to USB to be understood by the ARM CPU, for no advantage over USB at all.
post #29 of 61
As I wrote earlier in the day, I think Apple will use "smart" cables that support USB 3.0 today, and have the potential to support ThunderBolt in the future, much like today's wired TB cables and gear will be supported by tomorrow's optical TB cables and gear.

http://www.isights.org/2012/09/inside-the-iphone-5-smart-cable.html
post #30 of 61
USB3 would be nice (although I don't own any Macs that support it... yet). Syncing the iPhone is too damn slow via USB2, WiFi, etc. It sucks!
post #31 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by sirdir View Post

I can't imagine Apple is dropping audio/video etc. support over the connector. All existing accessories would be obsolete. Not a big deal if it's a dock for $50 but I wouldn't like to see support for an almost new car gone 1wink.gif
By the way, what do we need USB3.0 for? Most people don't sync over cable anymore and I guess apple will be guiding us towards the cloud anyway.

 

Well, I think you'll be able to support most of the existing docks and devices with the 30-pin to 9-pin-and-phono-plug adaptor. That will give you almost everything you need for now except video, and the future of audio/video is streaming via AirPlay and low-power Bluetooth 4.0. 

 

Heck, one has only to look at the external speaker market to realize that everyone is going Bluetooth, as that gives you iOS, Android and Windows 8 phones and tablet support.

post #32 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elijahg View Post

Please read my previous post which answers this. Yes it'd be possible to have an iPhone with Thunderbolt, but it would be pointless and power hungry. Who needs 10gbps to their phone? It'd need a chip to convert the TB signal to PCIe, then from PCIe to USB to be understood by the ARM CPU, for no advantage over USB at all.

I did. You stated what I've stated in this thread and in countless others while at the same time sounding like you're disagreeing my very clear statement making "corrections" about how it is technically possible. I didn't reply to it because I didn't know how to respond to that.

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post #33 of 61
USB 3.0 makes logical sense the new Macs have it, Windows based PC's have it which is the common speed benefit for both. Windows based PC's do not however have any Thunderbolt ports (at least not that I have heard about).

For me though I am looking to go more wireless syncing and skipping my USB 2.0 on my current MBP, perhaps when I upgrade in the future I can benefit from USB3.0.
post #34 of 61

Couldn't wait until tomorrow to find out for sure, eh DED?

Today is literally the last day you can speculate about the new connector rumors.

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post #35 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elijahg View Post

The chips in the HDDs and monitors are client chips, relatively dumb compared to the host chips in the Mac. If the iPhone was a client device, it'd have to turn the PCIe comms from TB to something the ARM CPU could understand, which'd waste a lot of CPU cycles. Right now the iPhone couldn't be a TB host, the TB controller chip is about half the width of the phone itself. But in any case, the ARM CPU doesn't have PCIe by any stretch of the imagination, so it just wouldn't make any sense at all. Also the TB to Dock Connector cable would cost the same as 20 USB to Dock Connector cables.
I don't think the iPhone 5 will have USB 3. That doesn't mean the Dock Connector 2 won't support USB 3 in the future, but it's probably more likely on the iPhone 5S, and most likely on the 6. AFAIK, the ARM chips don't support it yet, and I'm pretty sure Apple won't waste board space with a dedicated USB 3 chip when it won't provide any advantage. Especially as current USB 3 chips are huge, and drink juice. Apple's not in the business of adding X or Y feature just coz they can, they'll only add something that provides a real use. When ARM/Apple build a USB 3 controller into the CPU itself, where it can just sip power and will use little room, we'll see USB3. Right now the bottleneck isn't the external communications, it's the NAND, which tops out at around 10MB/sec. USB 2 is ~20-25MB/sec.

Tegra 2 supports PCIe, I am 99.9% certain Tegra 3 does. Hard to say with the A5/A6 but there is no reason to believe they could not support PCIe. The real problem with implementation (that could have been spelled out better in this article) is Displayport support. While they could probably make the iPhone behave like a thunderbolt hard drive, it would be a kludge. The device should be a host. If it can't be a host it should just walk away. There is no compelling reason to get a 5Gbps faster connection to the flash memory. It will not come close to maxing out USB3 as it is.

USB3 makes good sense. Thunderbolt is pointless.
post #36 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I've clearly stated many times that I don't think TB on an IDevice is feasible but you're not seeing what is possible because one part of the total device has an ARM ASIC. As my examples should clearly show you can have a device that supports TB that doesn't have the Intel chipset that is required to host TB. Apple could use the same setup as every other TB connected device to allow data transmissions between a Mac/WinPC with a TB port and a peripheral device.
edit: Here is an image from a teardown of an ATD.
RED: Pericom PI7C9X440SL PCIe-to-USB 2.0 host controller
ORANGE: L129NB11 EFL, which looks to be the Thunderbolt port controller
Where is the Intel Nehalem microarchitecture and Core processors it's suppose to have to be able to access data from a host device that supports TB?

The iPhone should properly behave like a host, not a device. Yes being a device would be useful, but silly.

In any case, there is no point to thunderbolt on a USB3 iPhone it gets you nothing but added complexity. The media speed will be slower than the connection anyway.
post #37 of 61

Samsung's new Exynos 5 is a dual core ARM Cortex-15 and apparently the first SoC to include USB 3.0. 

 

iPhone 5 is currently expected to use an "A6" quad core Cortex-A9, more closely related to the Exynos 4 Quad used by the Galaxy SIII.

 

It will likely have different graphics cores (Apple's A4/5 use PowerVR GPUs, while Samsung uses ARM Mali GPUs), and it could possibly include USB 3.0, but almost certainly will not include PCIe (making Thunderbolt impossible in addition to overkill).

 

Even if it only supports USB 2.0, it's still likely that Apple designed the new 9-pin Dock Connector to eventually support USB 3.0, and will (as the poster above noted) migrate to USB 3.0 as that becomes increasingly useful as a faster interface (and more widely available on Macs. 

 

Note too that USB 3.0 is designed to be backward compatible, so whatever future iOS devices that support it won't require it to sync.

post #38 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I did. You stated what I've stated in this thread and in countless others while at the same time sounding like you're disagreeing my very clear statement making "corrections" about how it is technically possible. I didn't reply to it because I didn't know how to respond to that.

Alright, I don't think we were quite clear on what you were getting at. Many things are technically possible, such as a 12-disk RAID on a MacBook, but there is little point in discussing things that are that infeasable 1wink.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wovel View Post

Tegra 2 supports PCIe, I am 99.9% certain Tegra 3 does. Hard to say with the A5/A6 but there is no reason to believe they could not support PCIe. The real problem with implementation (that could have been spelled out better in this article) is Displayport support. While they could probably make the iPhone behave like a thunderbolt hard drive, it would be a kludge. The device should be a host. If it can't be a host it should just walk away. There is no compelling reason to get a 5Gbps faster connection to the flash memory. It will not come close to maxing out USB3 as it is.
USB3 makes good sense. Thunderbolt is pointless.

The Tegra 2 is more based around a traditional motherboard architecture, with a northbridge/southbridge etc. Apple's design is somewhat different to this, it's more tightly integrated and doesn't use a PCIe style bus internally. I'm sure Apple could support PCIe, but adding PCIe just for TB would be somewhat pointless, and I agree completely, TB on an iPhone would be total overkill. There simply aren't enough pins on the connector for TB or DP in any case.

The flash in the iPhone can't even saturate USB2, let alone USB3. When the flash does speed up in the future, Apple'll be more likely to consider USB 3.
post #39 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wovel View Post

The iPhone should properly behave like a host, not a device. Yes being a device would be useful, but silly.
In any case, there is no point to thunderbolt on a USB3 iPhone it gets you nothing but added complexity. The media speed will be slower than the connection anyway.

1) The iPhone should act as both. when appropriate. If you are plugging it into some iPod Dock accessory it's the host, when you plug it into a "PC" it's not.

2) I've mentioned NAND speed as being a major bottleneck many many times, as well as many other reasons why it's not feasible or likely. Not likely or not feasible does not mean it's technologically impossible.

3) So in conclusion I've proven it's possible for any such device to connect to a "PC" that is using Intel Nehalem or better via TB.

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post #40 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elijahg View Post

Alright, I don't think we were quite clear on what you were getting at. Many things are technically possible, such as a 12-disk RAID on a MacBook, but there is little point in discussing things that are that infeasable 1wink.gif

I don't think I could have been any more clear. I've looked at my comments and I've stated everything as plainly and thoroughly as possible.

To recap, I was responding to this comment...
Quote:
While modern Macs have Intel chips and support a PCIe architecture, no iOS devices do. [...] That rules out any support for Thunderbolt and its blazing fast speeds that iOS devices couldn't make any effective use of anyway.

I even used examples that immediately disproved the comment that you can't have a device that supports TB if it doesn't have and modern Intel processor to be a host.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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