Thunderbolt 3 has really lead the race when it comes to fast and dependable connectivity for devices. There is so much speed and throughput behind TB3 that you can literally connect just about anything, including 4K monitors. However, it’s been expensive for companies to add it to their devices, so it trailed behind the most cost-effective USB.
This is starting to change as Intel (the company behind Thunderbolt) teams up with USB Implementers Forum (those behind USB) to integrate the two technologies together and bring the cost down for manufacturers, which will lead to the new TB technology appearing in more devices than ever in the near future (hopefully).
The new Thunderbolt 4 standard will be teamed up with USB4 and will be focused on multi-connectivity vs speed this round. This means you won’t get that giant leap in speed you’d expect when moving to a new version spec. In fact, you don’t see any increase as it still maxes out at 40Gbps.
Instead, it is a focus on making it more universal so that TB can become more widely used within devices, allowing the ability to literally connect anything to it, including new multi-TB4 port hubs that help you branch out to various devices, all coming into a single TB port on your computer. A few 4K monitors? No problem. An 8K monitor? No problem. External NVMe solutions? No problem. Mice, keyboards, and everything else, all connected to a single port. This includes support for all USB versions, and TB3 devices and cables as well.
New hubs can support multiple TB4 connections to break out to all of these devices, with up to 4 total ports, giving you enough connectivity to branch out into whatever workstation you’d like to build out. Laptops that support TB4 will be required to have the ability to take charge from one of their TB4/USB4 ports to help reduce cable clutter. All-in-all, it seems like they are pushing hard to consolidate and simplify connectivity between all of your devices. One cable to rule them all.
We won’t see anything until later this year, going into next year. However, this is the time where companies are cranking out their plans on including the new technology in their upcoming models/devices. In the beginning, we won’t likely see a huge adoption of the new standard within devices since there will still be a cost behind it. Intel cut out the royalties but there is still a certification process to claim that your device supports TB4. So in the beginning, it will most likely be centered around high-end laptops, dock stations, and a few monitors. It may be some time before we see TB4 roll out into smartphones, tablets, and more. This should set a new level of expectations though, which we will hopefully find in just about everything one day.
This may be a little difficult although not impossible. If you consider the heat dissipation that goes into the 10G adapter OWC has (which also leads to a larger size). Also assuming, of course, you are looking for the exact same quality and performance–it would make for a relatively large dock solution. Again, not impossible. It might just limit their audience a little. A 2.5G solution would be more probable for the profile and target audience (based on average modern needs). By the time 10G becomes more common, we will be discussing far better TB technology (likely).