As Apple prepares to refresh its MacBook Pro line of notebook computers, it’s beginning to look like a pretty safe bet that it will introduce a new I/O port called “Thunderbolt” in combination with the new devices, based on Intel’s Light Peak specification. It makes a lot of sense, sinceApple worked with Intel in developing Light Peak. But why do devices need this port, and what might Apple have planned for it in the future?
First, let’s look a little into Light Peak, how it works and what it can do. Light Peak is an optical cable interface designed by Intel with a bandwidth of 10 Gbps currently, with the potential to ultimately scale to rates of over 100 Gbps over the course of its life. The main benefit of Light Peak is that it provides enough bandwidth to both replace data connectors such as SCSI, USB, SATA and FireWire, while at the same time handling the duties of higher performance ports like eSATA and DisplayPort (or Mini DisplayPort, in the case of Apple computers). Read more →