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As many that read this blog may know, I am a huge fan of thunderbolt. I have been using it as a way to use my iMac as a display for my 2011 MBP. I also use thunderbolt to run an external boot SSD drive for the iMac. This means that I can take advantage of SSD speeds without opening up the iMac and changing anything out. Additionally, I have a thunderbolt dock that I use to get USB 3 to the iMac (which isn’t equipped with a USB 3 port) and I also use it to get a 4k compatible HDMI out. The ability to daisy chain thunderbolt also means that I can connect several drives to one port (I currently have 3 SSDs hooked up to my iMac using a Seagate adapter).
That being said, the problem with old tech is that while my Elgato Dock can handle 4k and thunderbolt 2, my Macs can’t. I have been thinking about updating my 2011 MBP for a while now, but I haven’t really been thrilled with the new Macs on the market. When the USB-C equipped Thunderbolt 3 comes to new Macs, then I will have a much larger selection of Macs to choose from since I like fast speeds for outboard drives for my Lightroom folders.
The great part of using a USB-C connector is that you can still use USB and Thunderbolt products through that same port. This would be extremely flexible for docking the MBP in a Thunderbolt dock (or maybe just an adapter) and hooking it up to 4k monitors (it can drive two 4k displays), but still have the ability to use your run-of-the-mill (and most likely a lot cheaper) USB-C products without needing a separate port. As we have learned with the new Macbook, USB-C also works for power, so with the addition of thunderbolt 3 (the current Macbook does not have thunderbolt 3), we will truly have one port that does it all at incredible speeds (40GB bandwidths compared to the already super-fast thunderbolt that I use which is ONLY 10GB!).
For my needs, the current crop of Macs seem like they will have a shorter shelf-life than the upcoming Macs that will have this new port. I would love to see at least two of these ports on my next Mac, so hopefully, Apple can make that happen. For now, it is just a wait and see situation. I still think I will end up with a MBP, but it will be interesting to see how this port is debuted across their line of computers.