April 23rd 2014
By Mike Flaminio
Andrew Coningham for Ars:
Doubling the available bandwidth will enable next-generation Thunderbolt controllers to drive two 4K displays simultaneously, where current controllers can only drive one. The new controllers will allegedly be compatible with a variety of other protocols as well, including DisplayPort 1.2, USB 3.0, and HDMI 2.0.
This info comes on leaked slides from Intel. This could all change, but offers a window into what could be in the works. One would assume Apple would adopt any new standards as it's pretty invested in Thunderbolt.
The proposed standard would require a different connector, so that's kind of a bummer. If Apple adopts this, that probably means another round of little white dongles. The good news though is the protocols will be backwards compatible with existing Thunderbolt devices and also maintain support for DisplayPort, USB 3.0, and HDMI.
No real idea when controllers will be made available for manufacturers. One guess is next year some time and then there will be a wait for them to come to market.