Intel is quick to point to growing adoption of Thunderbolt 3 as it is today. There are over 120 PCs that include both Thunderbolt 3 and a 7th-generation Core processor (the first platform to make the port widely available), and there should be just short of 150 by the end of 2017. However, there’s little doubt that the technology has been struggling. Outside of Apple, which helped create Thunderbolt, it tends to be limited to higher-end systems, and often with just one port. In a sense, this move was absolutely necessary — while Thunderbolt 3 is much faster than USB-C and is designed to usher in a future where one cable can do everything, it risks becoming a niche format compared to its slower counterpart.
The question is whether or not other companies will take up Intel’s offer. Just because they can easily use Thunderbolt 3 doesn’t mean they will, and they may decide that there aren’t enough peripherals to justify the technology. If AMD and others like the idea (we’ve asked AMD for its initial thoughts), the port could become relatively ubiquitous. If they’re cautious or avoid it altogether, though, this may be more of a symbolic gesture than a practical one.