Originally Posted by Crowley
USB would seem to have a more assured future than Thunderbolt, as Thunderbolt has had such limited uptake. The roadmap for Thunderbolt is interesting, and testament to Intel's commitment, but if the market doesn't appear then that roadmap could well go out the window, so USB is probably still the safer bet.
They really aren't comparable that way because they not true competitors. Remember that it's PCIe+DP over an mDP port interface. TB wraps in a lot of things that USB would do but you'd only use it for specific items. TB is a way to send data along with TB being locked to Intel at this time is certainly not helping because AMD, PPC, ARM, et al. systems can't be the primary device its connected to. I don't even think TB is a requirement for Intel's Ultrabooks any longer.
I've been wanting something like for many years before it happened. Just like USB was great because it allowed for multiple cable types to be a single cable type Thunderbolt does this for those that have displays with all the other peripherals built-in (camera, microphones, speakers, USB hub, FW hub, IR sensor, Thunderbolt out port, Ethernet). This also opens up the possibility for many PCIe options. For instance, it would be possible to have a MBA that couldn't run a 4K display well that could be connected to a 4K display because it has it's own discreet GPU built-in
The only thing the above setup is missing is the inclusion of this Apple patent (below) that will put optical Thunderbolt (aka Light Peak) via the MagSafe connector. Then you have one cable. Remember when you had to plug them all in separately or use a very expensive and clunky docking station interface with a laptop?