Intel’s Light Peak Technology Rumored To Be Implemented On 2011 Mac’s
Intel’s Light Peak high-speed optical interface technology might be arriving earlier than expected. Rumor has it that Apple may incorporate the new standard on Macs. Light Peak, is a method of transferring data that can perform at twice the speed of USB 3.0 and is “now on track to appear in products in the first half of 2011 – and likely earlier in the year than later,” according to Brooke Crothers at CNET. Apple has been an active part of the technology, especially since Steve Jobs made several comments dismissing USB 3.0. This leads many observers to speculate that Apple may be an early adopter of Light Peak. Currently, Intel Labs has been working on the fiber optic cable interface as a single universal replacement for current peripheral bus standards like USB, FireFire, PCI Express, HDMI, and SATA. The interface will be capable of transferring 10 gigabits per second full duplex, which is twice the transfer rate of USB 3.0. The cables are even capable of reaching up to a hundred meters long as opposed to USB 3.0′s three meter limitation. According to Intel, the standard will even support speeds up to 100 GBps by the end of the decade, which is very significant considering many industry observers are starting to believe that optical cables will be the only way to support larger HDTV and 3D displays. Engadget even published a claim last year that Apple designed the standard back in 2007 and decided to bring it to Intel. There has been no statement from either Apple or Intel about the situation, but industry sources have been disputing the assertion for quite some time.
The technology was demonstrated by Intel at the Intel Developer Forum in 2009, saturating a solid state RAID array while displaying an HD video on a large screen, all through a single fiber optic daisy-chain. Many observers were amused and noted that the computer that was used for the demo was a hackintosh (a caseless test rig running Mac OS X). Whether Apple was the original idea creator or not, Light Peak has enthusiastic support from Apple. Intel even received feedback from Apple, which they are incorporating into their development efforts. When asked about USB 3.0 on the Mac, Steve Jobs replied that “we don’t see USB 3.0 taking off at this time.”" The Apple CEO went on to justify that there was “no support from Intel” for the standard. Given the fact that Intel appears to be pushign ahead wih Light Peak as a next-generation standard, and Apple’s focus on clean and minimal industrial design, it is pretty realistic seeing future MacBooks with a single optical interface to replace USB, Firewire, and HDMI ports.
What do you think of this technology growing? Are you excited? Or more worried about the amount of money people will have to spend when the technology is being introduced? Let us know in the comments below! As usual, stay tuned for more news and info on the topic by following us on Twitter and/or subscribing to our RSS feed.