One cable to rule them all: a look at Apple's retired connectors through the years

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Comments

  • Reply 41 of 56
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,124member
    ascii said:

    ascii said:
    Nice survey. That last sentence is a key point though. The Thunderbolt 3 bus over USB type C port will not be the one port to rule them all, it will just be one more port.
    Try explaining that?

    One connector with both a professional (40 Gbit/s bi-directional 80 Gbit/s)  and consumer (10 Gbit/s) level data transfer standards on it. Plus, it's backward compatible with all versions of USB without a dongle (converter), just change the cable, $5 each and at most you'll need 3 cables. I had been waiting a long time to replace a lot of my external devices, now I only buy USB-C/TB-3 and most come with USB-C to USB-A cables.

    It can pretty much can replace everything out there (USB, Firewire, Serial, parallel, mini-SATA, HDMI, Display Port, ethernet, audio, etc).

    Plus with a dock, you can channel everything to include audio, video, ethernet, a discrete GPU and 100w of laptop power through a single cable. If anything the laptop power will make it the go to standard, since no other cable does it and that power can be drawn from a power supply or another device, like a monitor.

    I only use a dock at home so I can use one cable to connect everything. I'm only on Thunderbolt 1 and it works like a charm.

    I can't think of a single consumer device (TVs, computers, smartphones, etc,) that couldn't replace all of it's ports with this one connector, maybe with the exception of ethernet, since that plug is unlikely to be replaced due to the nature of the cabling.

    One current consumer device that does not perform optimally optimally over TB3 is eGPUs. If you look at most reviews they say that it runs ~ 15% slower than the same GPU connected via a PCI-E slot. We should expect a future TB4 to have higher data rates and lower latency/protocol overhead. You can imagine 8K monitors aren't that far away either (Dell already has the UP3218K - 7680 x 4320 resolution).

    But that's just a protocol/controller upgrade. Whether it will require a new port too I don't know, they might just run the current one as higher frequency. But as I said to Soli I think they will eventually want to go to something smaller. Can't you imagine a more futuristic port than USB-C? Maybe a pure fibre optic connector called USB-X. Technology doesn't stand still.
    I do wonder if the thickness of the Apple Lightening connector was to allow a future optical window within the tongue. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 42 of 56
    ascii said:

    ascii said:
    Nice survey. That last sentence is a key point though. The Thunderbolt 3 bus over USB type C port will not be the one port to rule them all, it will just be one more port.
    Try explaining that?

    One connector with both a professional (40 Gbit/s bi-directional 80 Gbit/s)  and consumer (10 Gbit/s) level data transfer standards on it. Plus, it's backward compatible with all versions of USB without a dongle (converter), just change the cable, $5 each and at most you'll need 3 cables. I had been waiting a long time to replace a lot of my external devices, now I only buy USB-C/TB-3 and most come with USB-C to USB-A cables.

    It can pretty much can replace everything out there (USB, Firewire, Serial, parallel, mini-SATA, HDMI, Display Port, ethernet, audio, etc).

    Plus with a dock, you can channel everything to include audio, video, ethernet, a discrete GPU and 100w of laptop power through a single cable. If anything the laptop power will make it the go to standard, since no other cable does it and that power can be drawn from a power supply or another device, like a monitor.

    I only use a dock at home so I can use one cable to connect everything. I'm only on Thunderbolt 1 and it works like a charm.

    I can't think of a single consumer device (TVs, computers, smartphones, etc,) that couldn't replace all of it's ports with this one connector, maybe with the exception of ethernet, since that plug is unlikely to be replaced due to the nature of the cabling.

    One current consumer device that does not perform optimally optimally over TB3 is eGPUs. If you look at most reviews they say that it runs ~ 15% slower than the same GPU connected via a PCI-E slot. We should expect a future TB4 to have higher data rates and lower latency/protocol overhead. You can imagine 8K monitors aren't that far away either (Dell already has the UP3218K - 7680 x 4320 resolution).

    But that's just a protocol/controller upgrade. Whether it will require a new port too I don't know, they might just run the current one as higher frequency. But as I said to Soli I think they will eventually want to go to something smaller. Can't you imagine a more futuristic port than USB-C? Maybe a pure fibre optic connector called USB-X. Technology doesn't stand still.
    I would expect TB to always be slower than the native PCI-E interface as it is being converted. PCI-e has the advantage of more pins and wire to carry the signal. But I would think that fibre optic cable could match the bandwidth. Unfortunately, optic cable cannot carry power like copper.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 43 of 56
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,685member
    Soli said:
    ascii said:Is 
    Soli said:
    We're living in the golden age of port interfaces. This doesn't go into all the connectors used by WinPCs, but thanks to Apple moving to USB we saw a lot of those fall away much faster than they would have had Apple not made the first move. I do not miss all the variants of DVI that appeared on Macs over the years. Long live the USB-C port interface.


    ascii said:
    Nice survey. That last sentence is a key point though. The Thunderbolt 3 bus over USB type C port will not be the one port to rule them all, it will just be one more port.
    The USB-C port interface is the closest we've ever come to that and it's one of two port interfaces on the current MBP. I see no reason why protocols graters than USB 3.1 and TB3 won't be able to utilize USB-C in the future so why don't you think it fits the "to "one port to rule them all" mantra?
    I think they will eventually replace USB-C with something else for the same reason they replaced USB-A with USB-C, namely they will want to have a smaller connector still.
    I don't understand what your point is. I don't think the article—or anyone else—made any claim that there will never ever be a port interface to come after USB-C.
    I suppose the "utopia" would be a usb(x) port that is similar to a headphone jack whereas the user doesn't even need to deal with orientation of the plug at all.  Just pop it in and be done with it.  

    If it weren't for power requirements, fiber would be the ultimate.

    Will be interesting what the future USB port/standard will be.  
    cmka~+watto_cobra
  • Reply 44 of 56
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,124member
    sflocal said:
    Soli said:
    ascii said:Is 
    Soli said:
    We're living in the golden age of port interfaces. This doesn't go into all the connectors used by WinPCs, but thanks to Apple moving to USB we saw a lot of those fall away much faster than they would have had Apple not made the first move. I do not miss all the variants of DVI that appeared on Macs over the years. Long live the USB-C port interface.


    ascii said:
    Nice survey. That last sentence is a key point though. The Thunderbolt 3 bus over USB type C port will not be the one port to rule them all, it will just be one more port.
    The USB-C port interface is the closest we've ever come to that and it's one of two port interfaces on the current MBP. I see no reason why protocols graters than USB 3.1 and TB3 won't be able to utilize USB-C in the future so why don't you think it fits the "to "one port to rule them all" mantra?
    I think they will eventually replace USB-C with something else for the same reason they replaced USB-A with USB-C, namely they will want to have a smaller connector still.
    I don't understand what your point is. I don't think the article—or anyone else—made any claim that there will never ever be a port interface to come after USB-C.
    I suppose the "utopia" would be a usb(x) port that is similar to a headphone jack whereas the user doesn't even need to deal with orientation of the plug at all.  Just pop it in and be done with it.  

    If it weren't for power requirements, fiber would be the ultimate.

    Will be interesting what the future USB port/standard will be.  
    nothing stopping optic fibre having parrallel power cables. Corning do this already to stiffen the cables already to help stop over bending. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 45 of 56
    jnsailjnsail Posts: 3member
    Apple's role in pushing USB should not be ignored.  I suffered through it.
  • Reply 46 of 56
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,206member
    sflocal said:
    Soli said:
    ascii said:Is 
    Soli said:
    We're living in the golden age of port interfaces. This doesn't go into all the connectors used by WinPCs, but thanks to Apple moving to USB we saw a lot of those fall away much faster than they would have had Apple not made the first move. I do not miss all the variants of DVI that appeared on Macs over the years. Long live the USB-C port interface.


    ascii said:
    Nice survey. That last sentence is a key point though. The Thunderbolt 3 bus over USB type C port will not be the one port to rule them all, it will just be one more port.
    The USB-C port interface is the closest we've ever come to that and it's one of two port interfaces on the current MBP. I see no reason why protocols graters than USB 3.1 and TB3 won't be able to utilize USB-C in the future so why don't you think it fits the "to "one port to rule them all" mantra?
    I think they will eventually replace USB-C with something else for the same reason they replaced USB-A with USB-C, namely they will want to have a smaller connector still.
    I don't understand what your point is. I don't think the article—or anyone else—made any claim that there will never ever be a port interface to come after USB-C.
    I suppose the "utopia" would be a usb(x) port that is similar to a headphone jack whereas the user doesn't even need to deal with orientation of the plug at all.  Just pop it in and be done with it.  

    If it weren't for power requirements, fiber would be the ultimate.

    Will be interesting what the future USB port/standard will be.  
    How do you propose that to happen with a data plug that supplies power? Mattinoz's suggestion is technically possible but I see a lot of issues that make it less than ideal than using copper.

    Do you think that USB-C (or Lightning) is still too cumbersome as a two-fold rotational-symmetrical connector? I personally think it's great, and if you want to get a truly cylindrical plug like with the simplistic audio jack you'll need to create rings for each pin which would likely cause the plug to insert into the device far too deep, which leads to a whole slew of other issues.
    edited July 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 47 of 56
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 3,109member
    Eric_WVGG said:
    Worth noting that the first iPod used FireWire. This had the unintended consequence of making it the most affordable, high speed portable hard drive on the market; Steve Jackson’s crew used them to ferry Lord of the Rings footage from New Zealand to Hollywood. 
    Peter Jackson?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 48 of 56
    DuhSesameDuhSesame Posts: 608member
    Got me interested if MacBooks will be the first to have USB 3.2 standard.  It take advantage of Type-C interfaces, which got extra data pins on the other side, but never used in prior standards.  Now it can deliver 20Gbps, the same bandwidth as the older Thunderbolt 2, without using any types of controller.  That’s pretty amazing.
    edited July 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 49 of 56
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 720editor
    No mention of micro-DisplayPort? That hung around for about 6 years, 2004 to 2010, I think.

  • Reply 50 of 56
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,206member
    vmarks said:
    No mention of micro-DisplayPort? That hung around for about 6 years, 2004 to 2010, I think.

    Longer than that, right, because it was created by Apple and offered as a no-fee license which was adopted as a VESA standard which was then adopted by Intel for their original TB standard after being denied by the USB-IF to piggyback onto their USB-A/3.0 port interface?
    edited July 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 51 of 56
    DuhSesameDuhSesame Posts: 608member
    vmarks said:
    No mention of micro-DisplayPort? That hung around for about 6 years, 2004 to 2010, I think.

    are you sure it's not Mini-DisplayPort?  I don't remember any Macs equipped with Micro-DisplayPort.

    But there are Mini-VGA though.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 52 of 56
    cmka~+cmka~+ Posts: 33member
    Eric_WVGG said:
    Worth noting that the first iPod used FireWire. This had the unintended consequence of making it the most affordable, high speed portable hard drive on the market; Steve Jackson’s crew used them to ferry Lord of the Rings footage from New Zealand to Hollywood. 
    *Peter Jackson 
  • Reply 53 of 56
    cmka~+cmka~+ Posts: 33member
    Very enjoyable article. -though I’d hardly call the 13 year run of FireWire on the Mac short-lived, especially given the company it’s in. 

    To add my 2¢ to the tb3 and beyond discussion. For applications such as eGPU and mission critical data transfer I find the usb-c connector way too flimsy and too loose. At a minimum there needs to be a locking version for pro devices. Also I wish the length of the typical connector head shrank proportionsally with the port itself. 

    I love the the idea of a headphone jack style connector. You could have fiber down the middle, and current carrying contacts encircling it. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 54 of 56
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    “FireWire was quickly replaced by Thunderbolt”? 1999 to 2013 is quick in the tech world?
    Once Thunderbolt was introduced, yes. Thunderbolt was introduced on the 2011 13"/15" MacBook Pros and overlapped with Firewire for only two years.
    Oh, basing it on rollout. I get it now.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 55 of 56
    djkikromedjkikrome Posts: 189member
     Very nice article. I really enjoyed this. Great job. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 56 of 56
    anomeanome Posts: 1,294member
    ireland said:
    Marco Aments three best articles, all written within a few months of one another. Apt to link to them now.

    Dream, the impossible dream https://marco.org/2017/10/14/impossible-dream-of-usb-c
    Fixing the MBP https://marco.org/2017/11/24/fixing-the-macbook-pro
    The best laptop ever made https://marco.org/2017/11/14/best-laptop-ever
    Ah yes, the ArmentBook Pro.

    I don't know about Arment, but I'm still waiting for my 24" MacBook Pro with the inlaid unicorn horn Apple logo on the back. When will Apple finally address the ridiculous desires of random people off the internet?
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