Apple will seemingly equip the USB-C port on the iPhone 15 Pro lineup with Thunderbolt 3 capabilities. This opens the door to connecting high-bandwidth storage devices and other accessories to the upcoming iPhone.
Apple already includes a Thunderbolt 3 port as standard across its iPad Air and iPad Pro lineups. This allows the tablets to drive external monitors with up to 6K resolution.
iOS 17 could pack Thunderbolt-related features
The latest iPhone 15 Pro leak comes from @analyst941 on Twitter, who previously revealed several key details about iOS 17. As per the leaker, iOS 17 will include special Thunderbolt 4 features. However, Apple will only reveal them when the iPhone 15 Pro launches later in the year.
One such feature will apparently allow the iPhone 15 Pro to output live 4K video to an external monitor while recording videos. The phone will display the camera controls, with a 16:9 video feed displayed on the connected external monitor.
The port on Pro’s will be Thunderbolt 3, I know there’s a lot of speculation in our community but it’s TB3.
There will be special Thunderbolt 4 features in iOS 17, but this won’t see the light of day till iP15 Pro releases because it’s reserved to them.
— 941 (@analyst941) April 27, 2023
While a niche feature, it would allow Apple to show the imaging capabilities of the new iPhone. It also would help professionals who use their iPhones for shooting short films and videos.
Apple could be planning other Thunderbolt-related features for the iPhone 15 Pro, but they are not known for now. Thunderbolt support also will bring faster data transfers to iPhone, speeding up the process of moving large video files off the device and creating backups. (Thunderbolt supports transfer speeds of up to 40Gb/s.)
Not all USB-C cables support Thunderbolt
The leaker suggests Apple could limit the Thunderbolt support to the iPhone 15 Pro lineup. The regular models will only support USB 2.0, despite switching to USB-C.
Remember that to take advantage of the Thunderbolt 3 port, you’ll have to use a Thunderbolt cable, which looks just like a regular USB-C cable but brings extra capabilities. Apple is rumored to optimize MFi USB-C power bricks to fast-charge iPhone 15. The company potentially could do something similar with Thunderbolt cables.