According to a patent filing discovered by AppleInsider, Apple has plans for thinner Thunderbolt and USB connections, likely for use on ever-slimming hardware such as the MacBook Air, iPhone and iPad.
The application entitled “Super-Thin USB Connector Receptacle Housings having Reduced-Wear Finger Contacts” illustrates methods to reduce the size, improve design aesthetics, and create a “snap or feel” when a cable is inserted into the port. Although the application title would imply the redesign is only for USB, Apple indicated the design are applicable to USB, FireWire, and DisplayPort. AppleInsider notes that the accompanying illustrations show a Mini DisplayPort, the same form-factor Apple uses for Thunderbolt.
Imagine a Thunderbolt-equipped iPhone or iPad. It would take mere seconds to sync and backup your device to iTunes as opposed to the countless minutes with the current 30-pin USB 2.0 connector.