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After a battery of tests with their current lineup of USB-C and Thunderbolt products, Plugable learned that Apple’s newest MacBook Pros may not be compatible with currently available Thunderbolt 3 devices. This issue seems to specifically stem from the use of Texas Instruments controller chips in the Thunderbolt 3 devices. If true, this means that has Apple potentially shut out early adopters of the new technology.

Plugable had began running tests of their USB-C and Thunderbolt products and realized that their Thunderbolt 3 peripherals were no longer compatible with Apple’s latest MacBook Pro. It appears that using the currently available Texas Instruments controller chips in Thunderbolt 3 devices  are incompatible with the newest MacBook Pro. In light of the news, Plugable has postponed their Thunderbolt 3 docking station as they evaluate the next steps.

Update 11/1/16: Apple has chosen to prevent Thunderbolt 3 devices using currently available controller chips from Texas Instruments from enumerating and functioning on the 2016 MacBook Pros. All current Thunderbolt 3 peripherals which use this controller chip are incompatible with the new 2016 Thunderbolt 3 MacBooks (To our knowledge, this includes all currently available Thunderbolt 3 devices including our TBT3-DP2X and TBT3-HDMI2X graphics adapters. Our Thunderbolt 3 cables do not require this chip, and therefore are compatible.)

Because of this, we’ve made the difficult decision to postpone our TBT3-UD1 Docking Station as we evaluate what is necessary to make this docking station MacBook-compatible. Our Flagship TBT3-UDV dock with Power Delivery/Charging is using the next generation controller chip from TI, and will be compatible with the 2016 Thunderbolt 3 MacBooks.

We’ll continue to post updates with new Thunderbolt™ 3 product and release information as it becomes available.

PlugablePlugable TBT3-UD1

Just today we shared OWC’s announcement of a new Thunderbolt 3 dock, but because of the February 2017 ship date it could be possible that they have opted to use another controller chip or just won’t be affected.

Update 11/03/2016 7:28 PDT: Plugable has updated their site with some more information regarding the situation:

Update 11/3/16: The version of OS X on the new MacBook Pros (late 2016) will not work with existing Certified Thunderbolt 3 docks and adapters (released prior to November 2016). These existing devices use Intel’s Thunderbolt 3 chipset (Alpine Ridge) in combination with the first generation of TI USB-C chipset (TPS65982). Apple requires the 2nd generation TPS65983 chipset for peripherals to be compatible. Certification of solutions across different device types is still in-progress for this 2nd generation chipset. From the Plugable product line, our dual display graphics adapters for DisplayPort and HDMI (TBT3-DP2X and TBT3-HDMI2X) are affected and are disabled by OS X on the new MacBooks. So we offer these products as Windows-only Thunderbolt 3 devices until a future hardware update. Our Thunderbolt 3 cables do not require this chip, and therefore are compatible.

We’ve also made the difficult decision to postpone our TBT3-UD1 Docking Station to update to the TPS65983 chipset and re-certify to make this docking station MacBook-compatible. Our Flagship TBT3-UDV dock with Power Delivery/Charging was already planned to use the next generation controller chip from TI, and will be compatible with the 2016 Thunderbolt 3 MacBooks.

We’ll continue to post updates with new Thunderbolt™ 3 product and release information as it becomes available.

We’ve reached out to Apple for further comment and will update when we hear something.

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