Originally Posted by Rokken
If I understand Light Peak correctly, Apple and other PC manufacturers can phase out all kinds of different ports and only put multiple Light Peak ports in their computers, while consumers can make use of all the ports with their devices rather than only a couple of them. You don't need different kinds of connectors because it's what Light Peak all about.
Originally Posted by Outsider
I think this port will be gradually folded into the port compliment of Macs (and PCs).
Add a port or two to the laptops, along with the regular compliment of other ports. Over the next year, as peripherals come out with these ports, subsequent revisions of the hardware will see normal USB and Firewire ports replaced by LP. There is a lot of RJ-45 infrastructure out there, so I don't see that physical port going anywhere soon. Same for the audio ports.
The desktops have more space to work with so they could always give a majority of its port real estate to LP (eventually), and keep legacy USB and Firewire in the back for older peripherals. Video ports would be dictated by the video card manufacturers, they will likely offer DP, DVI, alongside LP if it really takes off in the graphics market.
This is all speculation but if LP lives up to the hype, it can change computing dramatically. I'm thinking of external graphics cards for laptops, single-port port replicators, easier clustering, and more.
Originally Posted by Pascal007
LightPeak is not incompatible with all the other standards: you can have a LightPeak connector at one end and any other connector at the other end, be it another LP, or simple USB3, FW, ethernet, HDMI or DP connectors. All you need is an optic fiber, 2 metal wires* and some converter at the connector end.
* one for power and one for grounding. These wires have to be there anyway to protect the optical fiber from over-bending.
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss
You mean, like Firewire? Even SCSI didn't require a hub, and that's ancient tech now. Hubs are an artifact of USB. Something that replaces USB should improve on it, not duplicate its deficiencies, yes?
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss
I suppose ideally you get both options. Is that possible with optical? I'm wondering whether something less bulky like a splitter would be feasible.
Originally Posted by Snafu
Both hubs and daisychaining are valid ways to interconnect and group devices, logically and/or physically. Actually, a SCSI hub would have been a very nice thing to have back in the days.
Originally Posted by addabox
When Apple dropped legacy i/o port support in favor of USB on the iMac, it didn't take very long for a great many peripherals to become available. There was some short term confusion and inconvenience (I remember a brief outcry that the iMac "couldn't use a printer" because it had no serial port).
Of course, that was an industry wide transition that had Intel putting their full weight behind USB, introduced into a market that really needed it. Whether or not Light Peak would follow a similar path or not is hard to say, but it wouldn't be unprecedented.
I could see the tech being initially introduced a couple of ways: First, as a docking solution for notebooks, requiring a single slender cable from a multi-port breakout box. Using a single port for multiple devices is always going to require some kind of a breakout box (or, as Dr. Millmoss suggests, a splitter) anyway, and multiple cables from multiple ports are no more elegant or compact, so such a set-up wouldn't really be a big kludge compared to what people are doing now. Of course, even better would be an array of devices that use the Light Peak standard and either a hub or a daisy chain (can't remember, has anything referenced whether or not this spec daisy chains?), but either way you still have to get discreet cables from the computer to discreet devices, at some point, no matter how capable your interconnect.
Secondly I could really see this as a great phone/palmtop docking solution. Basically the same deal as a laptop dock, but bringing vastly more functionality to your iPhone/Touch. With the rapid improvements in hardware, it surely won't be very long before your "phone" could serve as the the brains of a perfectly capable desktop/mobile system, as long as you had easy access to full sized peripherals-- keyboard, monitor and storage and power.
Basically, it sounds as if Light Peak could enable an über-dock that would make your iPhone/Touch an actual laptop/desktop replacement.
Originally Posted by Gazoobee
But in Apple's world, the "hub" is the monitor.
I would expect the firs use of this technology will simply be to replace all the ports on a MacBook with the single Light Peak cable which leads to the Apple Cinema Display that has a bunch of ports on the back as usual. Either that, or the single cable that leads from the monitor to the power brick will put the ports on the power brick.
Ergo: buyers of all-Apple gear will have their single cable "dock" solution and anyone who buys anything else will have to connect it to the back of the monitor or onto the brick under the desk.
Originally Posted by addabox
But I think that "single cable" thing is a bit misleading, in that it conjures up visions of, well, a single cable.
Once past the case of your computer, that single cable still needs to physically connect with all the devices that used to use the various interconnect standards.
Now if it became a ubiquitous standard, and all of my devices had the same interconnect so that I only had to worry about keeping one kind of cable around, or perhaps one kind of cable and one kind of hub/splitter/router, then terrific. But I'm still going to have single cable to hub to many cables, or many ports to many cables, and in the case of infrastructure type connects such as ethernet, it's not even clear why that's an improvement.
High speed data transfer is nice, of course, but the more I think about it the more I thing single cable to some kind of distribution thing which stays connected to your peripherals is the payoff.
Originally Posted by addabox
I guess, but as I think about it seems like "cable clutter" is really a function of lots of devices plugged into one place. You can move that place around, you can make the cables thinner, but you basically have the same topography. Only wireless actually reduces cabling. Although, as I say, as the cabling for a docking system for a laptop or palmtop, it would be great.
Not that I wouldn't welcome a thin, ubiquitous, high bandwidth do everything cabling standard that can go 100m without signal degradation-- that would be plenty upside for me. Although I kind of have to wonder what a 100m optical cable would actually cost.
At the very least, its a chance for Monster to put "Pure optical digital extreme hi mega" on there packages and charge $300 for a 6' cable.
I get it, but I don't get it. People are talking about multiple Light Path ports in the thread (plus legacy ports), when the whole idea (as stated in the article) seems to be that mobile computing devices can take on new, svelte, Jobsian form factors when we can eliminate all but one (an"über-port" that connects to all of the above-mentioned - including the "über-dock").
In the future everything looks good - problems all solved. In the present we still have to figure out how to get signals out of our computers into everything we have and everything that's coming.
Which does require the signal to be split at some point in some way, or daisy-chained (which could be inconvenient and vexing and laborious depending on where things live and how often their config changes).
Leading to plenty of speculation about splitters, break-out boxes, optical docks with legacy and light ports, etc., etc. I'm assuming that at least over short distances signal degredation and capacity are not issues, so you could split a number of times without worrying. Adding devices and complexity (and costs) to the act of a normal human hooking up a computer system.
But what will the "other end" of a Light Peak cable be? Can they really simply plug into extant USB, Firewire, monitors, by ending in the existing connectors for these? Otherwise how do you keep all legacy equipment from becoming useless, or keep having to have Light Path as a new extra port on PC's rather than "a port to replace them all"? And if there are many types of expensive LP-FW, LP-USB, LP-whatever cables, and splitters, won't you pay more to connect to some of your legacy devices than it would cost to replace them?
A whole new set of cabling to go along with the drawer full of now more useless cables too expensive to throw away just yet?? (Mine's already several drawers of super-annuated connectors and cables, including computing, phone, audio-video and other equipment.)
Will there be a standard LIght Peak input port on all devices? That last's a job that would take awhile to ramp up infrastructure for. As in a looong while. Will there be hydra-headed LP cables with a variety of connectors? Will devices to split the signal be cheap and passive? If there is a "standard" LP cable, and it can support existing in-ports for devices we have, will there just be caps that can be put on the standard cable to make them FW, USB, etc.?
Maybe I'm just being dense, but this simplification concept is seeming really pretty complex to me. Enough so that I expect before the whole transition can be made we'll already be dealing with LightPeak 2.0 or everything will, as one poster suggested, go wireless. Which is the superior convenience solution by far, if not the most secure.
So, Johnny, I have too many things on my plate to really cogitate this out more than this, so how dense am I here??