What I would like to have with thunderbolt is fancy magic breaker box, which would for example include:
- 4 firewire 800 ports
- 8 USB2 / USB3 ports
- 2 ESATA ports for disks
- maybe connector for external display as well
Connecting such box to your laptop might sound silly for most users, but my use would be to hook this to my music hardware rack, having all of the audio hardware connected to your gig laptop with one cable. Like, all various MIDI controllers (usually USB), audio recording interfaces (usually firewire), instruments (my line6 guitar amp has USB) and external disks for recording.
Usually you only use one or two of these devices at a time, but the cables can be really a PITA: having one magic box bolted to your audio rack, connecting everything there permanently makes things so much simpler. Of course, I would like the magic box to come in 1U form factor, or with rack mounting kit.
If such box is made available, I seriously might be tempted to get a new MBP, just to be able to use it.
This is not going to make thunderbolt a must for all users, but it's wonderful technology to replace firewire (which is certainly not dead yet in pro audio market!). Everything doesn't have to be The Big Thing for everyone. I'm not sure about USB3, but I though it still has latency issues like USB2 for multichannel audio (like 32 channels, not your average gaming rig...), which are not solved by higher transfer rates. Might be wrong of course regarding USB3...