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Thunderbolt is the I/O protocol primarily used by Apple. It is much faster than the otherwise ubiquitous USB,even more so when you are talking about Thunderbolt 2. The only downside is that it cost more than a USB cable, and outside of Apple products, it is not nearly as widely supported as USB. You can read more here: http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/io/thunderbolt/thunderbolt-technology-developer.html