My gut had been telling me that Apple — always an innovator — would forego USB 3.0 entirely and go straight to Light Peak technology in 2011. Apparently, my gut was wrong. Maybe the feeling was indigestion.
Whatever it was, Intel said this week that Light Peak won’t be shipping in computers or other devices until 2012. The chipsets to drive the fiber optic data link WILL be ready by late 2011, but that means Macs with Light Peak won’t arrive before early 2012, at the latest.
Developed by Intel, Light Peak paves the way for a new generation of extreme computer input and output (I/O) performance, delivering 10Gb/s of bandwidth, with the potential ability to scale to 100Gbs over the next decade, according to David Perlmutter, executive vice president and general manager, Intel Architecture Group. At 10Gb/second, a user could purportedly transfer a full-length Blu-Ray movie in less than 30 seconds (of course, Steve Jobs doesn’t’ like Blu-ray, but I keep hoping he’ll change his mind). Intel says it intends to work with the industry to determine the best way to make this new technology a standard.
The optical technology allows for smaller connectors and longer, thinner, and more flexible cables than currently possible. Light Peak also has the ability to run multiple protocols simultaneously over a single cable, enabling the technology to connect devices such as peripherals, displays, disk drives, docking stations, and more. Think of it like loading up many cars onto a high-speed bullet train.
But that train won’t be leaving the station anytime soon. So look for Macs with Intel’s “Sandy Bridge” chips AND USB 3.0 in early 2011. The chips will offer offer native support for USB 3.0 and PCI Express 3.0.
— Dennis Sellers