For example, Intel is releasing a new category of ultra-thin notebooks this holiday season called Ultrabook. And while the company is not requiring that equipment manufacturers use Thunderbolt on those computers, it's a good bet that many will, Johnson said.
"That's a good form factor to drive Thunderbolt," Johnson said.
Like Thunderbolt, USB 3.0 is also in its early days. The majority of products are only shipping in peripheral devices, which include flash memory sticks and external hard drives.
However, PC manufacturer Asus shipped 2 million USB 3.0 motherboards to system manufacturers in the first quarter of this year. Semiconductor maker Renesas Electronics announced that 30 million USB 3.0 host controllers shipped through May 2011, and motherboard maker Giga-Byte Technology is on track to ship 7.5 million USB 3.0 motherboards by the end of this year.
Certified USB 3.0 host controllers are available from seven other companies, including Advanced Micro Devices, ASMedia, and Etron. AMD announced its first certified SuperSpeed USB chipset at IDF Beijing 2011. Intel announced support for USB 3.0 integration into its Ivy Bridge chipset at its developer forum earlier this month.
In the end, though, it will be up to the consumer to show vendors through their purchases if they want the added bandwidth and power that Thunderbolt offers.
"If you have two machines and one has Thunderbolt and one does not, and the cost is not a big differentiator, then certainly someone who chooses the one with the Thunderbolt port will open up more possibilities," Johnson said.