12 Possible Uses for the Thunderbolt Port

7. Pro Audio

Professional audio users will hopefully benefit from Thunderbolt the same way pro video users will. After years of requiring internal PCI Express cards, software such as Avid’s Pro Tools can finally use FireWire to connect to approved audio interfaces -- but imagine how much slicker it will be to push tons of tracks at high sample rates through a single Thunderbolt I/O port.

How many channels could Pro Tools push through a Thunderbolt interface like this?

8. iOS Syncing

Prior to the release of the iPad 2, there were a gaggle of rumors that Apple may introduce a Thunderbolt port to the iOS platform. For what purpose, you might ask? Presumably to speed up syncing large movie and TV show files, podcasts or photo libraries. It still makes sense, even as the company is moving toward Wi-Fi Sync, which is actually slower than the old USB 2.O method.

This cable doesn’t exist yet – but we wish it did.

9. One Port To Rule Them All

One of the most intriguing possibilities for Thunderbolt is the elimination of other ports on the Mac – most notably, USB 2.O and FireWire 800. Instead of having to clutter up Macs with a bunch of legacy ports, perhaps Apple will simply include a pair of Thunderbolt ports, leaving it to a clever third party manufacturer to create dongles or a breakout box containing our favorite legacy connections. As long as that includes the long lost FireWire 400, we’d be down with it.

Who needs all of these ports when one Thunderbolt connection will do?

10. Notebook Docking

Apple sells a lot of Mac notebooks these days, and we figure many of them are getting used by road warriors who would like to return to the comfort of their home or office and be docked to a monitor, external keyboard and mouse instead. Wouldn’t it be nice to simply plop your MacBook on the desk and plug in a single Thunderbolt cable to magically get connected to all of this stuff (and more)?

Mobile users could dock into practically everything with a single connection.

11. Camcorders

Over the years we’ve seen FireWire used for DV (and later HDV) camcorders, USB 2.0 for AVCHD and even direct HDMI out, so why shouldn’t Thunderbolt get a crack at being your next camcorder’s best friend? One of the early promises of FireWire was real time (or better) transfer of digital video into a computer, and Thunderbolt certainly has the bandwidth to make it happen -- and the diminutive size camcorder makers love.

Where is our Thunderbolt-based camcorder?

12. Shared Processing

If one computer is great at crunching numbers, then several of them must be fantastic, right? Perhaps Thunderbolt will become a low-cost method for daisy-chaining multiple Mac computers together, with shared processing tasks spread across however many systems you can dream of (or afford). Personally, we’d like to see something like Photoshop crunch some super high resolution images on a setup like that!

Imagine this, only with newer Macs and Thunderbolt cables. How dreamy!