New information suggests that Intel is looking to persuade computer makers to build Thunderbolt docks to go with their super-slim Ultrabooks.
The pictures seen by VR Zone highlight a wide dock connector next to a mini Thunderbolt port. Annoyingly, the dock connector itself would be proprietary, meaning that that dock you already have for using your Dell machine at work isn't going to be compatible with a new Ultrabook. Instead, you'll have to buy a specific dock, which in turn, could be incompatible with future machines.
The Thunderbolt interface was developed by Intel in partnership with Apple and is already in use on Apple's MacBook line of laptops as well as its iMac desktop all-in-ones. The high speed of the connectivity allows for multiple devices to be powered through one port.
Intel may be hoping that this technology makes Ultrabooks more attractive to the business market, which would help the Ultrabook achieve the 40 per cent laptop market share Intel originally planned for.
The Ultrabook genre of laptops -- including the Acer Aspire S3 and the super-sexy Asus Zenbook UX21 -- were supposed to be sold for around the £700 mark, based on Intel's original predictions, but the costs involved in making such slim and powerful machines means that manufacturers are still far from that price-range. The high costs involved in implementing Thunderbolt technology means that that price is going to be even harder to achieve.
We'll have to wait until the latter half of next year to see whether Intel manages to bring Thunderbolt docks out for the Ultrabook, but we can't help but think that we'd rather it stuck with USB 3.0 and focussed on bringing the overall price of the laptops down -- it would certainly be a punch in the face for Apple's MacBook Air.