Thunderbolt 3 very likely, but not confirmed yet…

I had only read the title of this article macOS Sierra Code Confirms Thunderbolt 3 and 10Gb/s USB 3.1 Transfer Speeds in Future Macs) from (brought to you by and boy was I surprised. I thought that I had missed something. Then I fired up my data scraper and… found nothing!

Ehm. Guys. Where is this mysterious “Thunderbolt 3” string?

Fact checkers can verify this themselves by following this simple procedure:

1.) cd /S*/L*/SystemProfiler/SPThunderboltReporter.spreporter/C*/R*/English.lproj
2.) sudo plutil -convert xml1 Localizable.strings
3.) open Localizable.strings

Lo and behold:

	<key>Up to 10 Gb/s x1</key>
	<string>Up to 10 Gb/s x1</string>
	<key>Up to 10 Gb/s x2</key>
	<string>Up to 10 Gb/s x2</string>
	<key>Up to 20 Gb/s x1</key>
	<string>Up to 20 Gb/s x1</string>
	<key>Up to 20 Gb/s x2</key>
	<string>Up to 20 Gb/s x2</string>

That is what I found there. There is no 40 Gb/s x4 or anything.

So let’s check out what Jeff Benjamin actually wrote:

For example, it’s possible that we could see support for Thunderbolt 3 in the highly anticipated MacBook Pro refresh. It’s worth noting that 10 Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2 is built in to Thunderbolt 3.

I agree. That is very well possible. Perhaps even likely since Thunderbolt is a highly anticipated feature, but what concluded is not correct. You cannot conclude that from that data. To me it’s more like this; The minute we find references of Kaby Lake… then Thunderbolt 3 is confirmed, but for now… everything is still speculation.

Note: The “Up to 10 Gb/sec” string can be found in:

Update: Take a look at the next picture. Taken from an Intel slide:
You could say that this confirms that the next MacBook (Pro) will come with Thunderbolt 3 support, and it is very likely, but we don’t know for what model(s) and what processor it will use. Only Apple knows…

Edit: Previously we could only guess, but the launch of the new Late 2016 MacBook Pro changed all that. They do come with Thunderbolt 3 and thus now we can say that it is confirmed.

7 thoughts on “Thunderbolt 3 very likely, but not confirmed yet…

    • Maybe I missed it, in which case I would like to see a link/references to a datasheet that shows TB3 support without an Alpine Ridge controller. Something we don’t need with Kaby Lake processors and that is a huge difference. There it is a freely available feature. Why would Apple not use it?

      • Ah that is the difference I didn’t know. Apple has historically bought the controllers for TB in the past correct? I was unaware Kaby Lake was going to include the TB controller.

      • Apple did, yes, and the chips where pretty expensive too.

        The adoption rate of TB3 is going to improve from now on, since we don’t need a chip, add-in card, Thunderbolt or DisplayPort connector anymore. Nada. Just the USB type C port.

        Note the DisplayPort connector, which you’ll find on many Mac products though that is going to change. The USB type C port can do it all. Even charge your MacBook (Pro).

      • Ah thanks for the info. Kaby lake is supposed to share the 100 series chipset on the desktop side yes? If so any boards without Alpine Ridge, but a type C port will they turn into TB ports as well? Or will that functionality only work with boards manufactured with Kaby Lake in mind?

      • I don’t think so.

        Yes. Kabylake-S processors share the same LGA 1151 socket, and the 200 series motherboard will support both Skylake-S and Kabylake-S processors, but I believe that only a 200 series motherboard will support the all-in-one USB type C port. If not due to technical limitations, then to sell new motherboards.

        This also means that there is no need to repeat the Haswell refresh fiasco, when Intel told motherboard manufacturers not to include the CPU microcode in Z87 BIOS upgrades. No. Now the 200 series motherboards will offer additional features, like 10Gbit Ethernet (peer-to-peer) and presumably a fix, finally, for NVMe RAID.

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