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Intel could release Light Peak technology in first half of 2011, Apple to follow

post #1 of 56
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Intel's Light Peak optical cabling technology is on track to make its first appearance in products in early 2011, with Apple expected to follow soon after, according to a new report.

Apple expressed a very strong interest in Light Peak after Intel approached them with it several years ago. According to an Engadget report from September 2009, Apple Chief Steve Jobs and Intel CEO Paul Otellini allegedly fleshed out the Light Peak standard after Apple intimated that it was looking into optical signaling as a single port solution.

Light Peak is a high-speed optical cable technology with bandwidth of 10Gbps, with the possibility of scaling up to 100Gbps in the future. A full-length Blu-Ray movie could transfer over Light Peak in less than 30 seconds, Intel states on its website. The company "expects to see Light Peak in PCs and peripherals in 2011."

In a new report from CNET, industry sources claim that Light Peak will make its debut in the first half of 2011, and "likely earlier in the year than later." Apple, which is described as an "innovating force in the industry," is expected to incorporate Light Peak quickly after its release.

Early versions of the technology have already been tested on Macs. In 2009, "an Intel demonstration at its developer conference used a machine running Apple's Mac OS X," wrote author Brooke Crothers.

Optical cabling would provide Apple an alternative to USB 3.0. Though the Cupertino, Calif., company was rumored to be adding USB 3.0 to its Mac Pro and iMac desktops this summer, the updates failed to materialize. Apple has had the USB 3.0 specification for almost a year and a half. Intel has also resisted adopting USB 3.0, holding off on supporting the standard in its chipsets, despite one Intel spokesperson assuring that Intel remains "absolutely committed to USB 3.0 and beyond that."

Apple has a history of innovating connectors and ports, often 'leading the pack' ahead of other companies. In 1998, Apple introduced the iMac G3 as the first computer to abandon older legacy ports and adopt the new USB port as standard. Other PC makers soon followed suit, with USB eventually becoming the de facto standard for peripherals.

However, Apple's innovations aren't always adopted by the mainstream. For years, Apple pushed its FireWire standard, but saw adoption in mostly niche markets.

A continued Apple/Intel partnership for Light Peak would make mainstream adoption of the technology highly likely. Intel has the reach needed to drive costs down, and Apple is willing to take risks with new standards. Intel may also be looking to work with Apple to develop a mobile version of Light Peak, which would help it break into the mobile space, where Intel's Atom processors have struggled for years.

The partnership may be at risk, though, given the on-again, off-again partner-turned-rival relationship that the two companies have shared as of late. Intel's Otellini recently went on record criticizing the Apple TV set top box as "a step backward" when compared to the rival Google TV platform, which Intel is partnering with Google on. Otellini sent an email to employees last month, detailing the "marathon" that Intel plans to run in order to catch up to Apple in the tablet and smartphone markets.
post #2 of 56
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Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Intel's Light Peak optical cabling technology is on track to make its first appearance in products in early 2011, with Apple expected to follow soon after, according to a new report.

I hope this report is true. Data transfer speed is definitely one of the bottlenecks holding back overall system performance.

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post #3 of 56
So bye bye to USB 3.0?? I don't think so

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post #4 of 56
Quote:
Intel may also be looking to work with Apple to develop a mobile version of Light Peak

Fuck this - release ONE version small enough for mobile devices and DO NOT BOTHER with a larger version. When are these people going to learn?

Oh, and make the internal connector the same as the external, instead of like the idiotic decision to make SATA and eSATA use slightly different, but ostensibly the same connecter. Just leave the locking tab off the internal connector but otherwise don't change the mating specs.
post #5 of 56
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Originally Posted by Dlux View Post

Oh, and make the internal connector the same as the external...

Let's pray they don't use the same boneheaded non-polarized connector that USB uses, it's annoying as hell to be always flipping it around when it doesn't insert the first time.

If they do it right, LightPeak will use a ROUND barrel connector, with power carried on the inside and outside of the barrel, and a single coaxial optical fiber in the center. The fiber would carry data in both directions.

Sadly, I suspect Intel will take the easy route as usual, and provide some half-engineered good-enough-for-the-PC-world solution.
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post #6 of 56
"Apple expressed a very strong interest in Light Peak after Intel approached them with it several years ago." This implies that it was Intel's idea. Apple actually approached Intel to ask them to develop it as I recall - and Wikipedia agrees... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightpeak
post #7 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by cr4819642 View Post

"Apple expressed a very strong interest in Light Peak after Intel approached them with it several years ago." This implies that it was Intel's idea. Apple actually approached Intel to ask them to develop it as I recall - and Wikipedia agrees... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightpeak

I think that's up to debate. Wikipedia is not written by Apple, nor Intel. As far as I know, Apple has never even mentioned LightPeak, or have they? Several sources seems to imply it truly comes from Intel, and that the rumor of it being Apple's idea comes from seeing the technology demonstrated on Mac OS X.
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-10363956-64.html

I'm having high hopes for LightPeak. If it is what they promise, LightPeak can potentially run several protocols, like FireWire, USB1,2,3, DisplayPort, PS/2, Ethernet, eSATA with adapters - plus just pure LightPeak. So instead of having 5 different ports, you could have 5 Light Peak ports, and decide yourself what you wanna use them for.

All this potential.. I hope at least some of this gets real, and works flawlessly for even low level peripherals such as FireWire audio cards, USB3 video capture cards etc.
post #8 of 56
Ports are definitely the slowest thing for me, in day to day use of computers or iDevices. With SSDs nicely speeding up loading times, the ports stand out even more as the bottleneck.

The only thing that worries me, is I have had some experience with optical cables, and they are fragile.
post #9 of 56
If we got Light Peak with a magsafe connector, I would get chills.
post #10 of 56
If it gets to 100 Gbps, that's plenty fast to hang a large monitor on it, keyboard and graphic device, storage device, and so on. Transport fast enough to run everything at once. Whoosh.
post #11 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swift View Post

If it gets to 100 Gbps, that's plenty fast to hang a large monitor on it, keyboard and graphic device, storage device, and so on. Transport fast enough to run everything at once. Whoosh.

Yep. Universal Serial Bus was never universal because it was not fast enough for monitors. But this could (maybe!) be the one-port-to-rule-them-all.
post #12 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

...the one-port-to-rule-them-all.

One port to bring them all...into the light!
post #13 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post

Fuck this - release ONE version small enough for mobile devices and DO NOT BOTHER with a larger version. When are these people going to learn?

Oh, and make the internal connector the same as the external, instead of like the idiotic decision to make SATA and eSATA use slightly different, but ostensibly the same connecter. Just leave the locking tab off the internal connector but otherwise don't change the mating specs.

Or use an adapter. This works exceptionally well for headphones. At home, use the large 1/4" plug, and for mobile use, there's the smaller 1/8" plug.

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post #14 of 56
I'm wondering how the interconnectivity will work? One of the advantages of Firewire was that you could daisy-chain devices together. With USB, you need a separate port for each device. If Lightpeak allows devices to be daisy-chained, then that would be awesome! Basically then, every peripheral device could have 2 Lightpeak ports, and MacBooks/Airs/Pros would only need ONE I/O port! Even at the minimum 10 GB/s transfer rate, theoretically you could still run printer, scanner, external monitor, external HD off of ONE Lightpeak port!
Well, I could anyway. I'm sure there are power users on here for whom 10 TB/s would not be enough!

UPDATE:
Oh. I guess if I would bother to do a little research, I would find the answer to my question.
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post #15 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_steve View Post

Let's pray they don't use the same boneheaded non-polarized connector that USB uses, it's annoying as hell to be always flipping it around when it doesn't insert the first time.

The USB symbol is always on top when plugging in the connector. That is a USB standard. Manufacturers are supposed to emboss the symbol so that there is a tactile indication, but Apple just uses cheap USB connectors with the symbol printed on.

Don't blame the USB standard, blame Apple for not embossing the USB symbol.
post #16 of 56
Man, this technology has been rumored for a long time now. Flesh out in reality for a couple years now. The simple fact that this would solve the age old bottle-neck to the pc, finally, wow.

Let's hope this is true!
post #17 of 56
So the next MBP will have USB, Firewire and Lightpeak ports?

Wish they spent more time developing better/faster wireless tech instead.
post #18 of 56
I was holding off all of my electronic purchases till 2011 so this could work out really well.

As to light peak I don't believe it will ever become one port to rule them all. For one in its current incarnation it is to slow. Especially considering the move to much faster secondary storage devices and much higher display densities. The link would very quickly be come over whelmed.

Then there is the issue of economics, USB-xx will not go away anytime soon simply because of cost. Think about the mouse, memory stick or other low cost devices and the impact of adding a optical interface to the device. I'd love to have Lightpeak in a laptop, especially as a link to a base station, but couldn't live without a couple of USB ports. Given that, the first big use for the link will likely be to SAN / NAS systems.

In any event I do hope Apple doesn't screw this up by getting cute. Like has already been mentioned Apple sometimes takes what amounts to stupid approaches to new tech. Firewire being a good example of Apple having a good idea and then killing it in the greater community with to much negativity. Hopefully Intels involvement here will keep Apple from getting to quirky. Unfortunately I'm uneasy about this tech, not because of the tech itself but rather because of the possibillity that Apple will take our much loved MBPs and turn them into something disliked maybe even hated.
post #19 of 56
This doesn't compete persay with USB etc, from all I have read you can put a connector on the end and it becomes USB, esata, HDMI etc.

I also recall that the first version will have 4 ends for one port, so mbp with one lightpeak could offer 2 sata 1 dvi and 1 usb.
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post #20 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post

So the next MBP will have USB, Firewire and Lightpeak ports?

No one here has said anything with certainty. I'm not sure what even caused you to ask that question in the way you did.
Quote:
Wish they spent more time developing better/faster wireless tech instead.

Wireless sucks. You are likely one of those people that wonder about those of us that stress the need for Ethernet ports in our laptops. The reality is wired or optical connections are faster and more versatile. That will be the case well into the future even when the 60 GHz wireless standard is in place.

In my estimation Firewire is dead, USB however is likely to be supported for a very long time. The reality is Firewire is a problematic port for Apple, the sooner they can get rid of it the better.
post #21 of 56
I am all for progress but sometimes I think if this whole gradual introduction isn't motivated in part by making you change tons of peripherals...
post #22 of 56
Here is an excellent read up on Light Peak and some demonstration videos.

Code:

http://www.9to5mac.com/9658/Intels-Light-Peak-10Gb-bus-standard-is-actually-Apples
post #23 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Futuristic View Post

I'm wondering how the interconnectivity will work? One of the advantages of Firewire was that you could daisy-chain devices together. With USB, you need a separate port for each device.

Intel had some good stuff on the net awhile back, you should see if it is still around. In any event I suspect that daisy chaining will be very expensive as that means another port.
Quote:
If Lightpeak allows devices to be daisy-chained, then that would be awesome! Basically then, every peripheral device could have 2 Lightpeak ports, and MacBooks/Airs/Pros would only need ONE I/O port!

If Apple ever makes a laptop with only a Lightpeak port I will give up on the product line. A laptop would be useless without a couple of USB ports.
Quote:
Even at the minimum 10 GB/s transfer rate, theoretically you could still run printer, scanner, external monitor, external HD off of ONE Lightpeak port!

Not really, at least not from the info we have. There is likely a substantial protocol overhead for one. Then you have to take into consideration the bandwidth future displays will require. For example doubling the linear resolution means four times more pixels and a corresponding increase in data. You could blow a good portion of your bandwidth on just video. Then we have storage with solid state real close to 1Gbps now.

Again there are to many unknowns to say for sure, all we have is raw numbers. Combine this with ever more demanding pheripherials and there are reasonable questions to ask.

On the flip side it is my understanding that transmit and recieve get their own fiber. If true then you might actually have the potential for 20Gbps. That being the combination or sum of the in and out speeds. This like much of the info about Lightpeak should be seen as tentative.

A scary thought has just hit me. What if they are summing 5Gbps in and out to get to the 10Gbps figure? That would really suck so I doubt it.
Quote:
Well, I could anyway. I'm sure there are power users on here for whom 10 TB/s would not be enough!

It has nothing to do with being a power user. In my mind it has a lot to do with the wisdom of running a high bandwidth protocol over a new bus when we have a perfectly good dedicated interface in display port.

Plus such an arraingement is sloppy because of all the adapters you would need to carry. It is bad enough that one needs to carry around display port to whatever adapters, going to a single Lightpeak port means an adapter for everything. This would be terrible for portable devices. On the otherhand Lightpeak would be great for connecting a laptop to a base station at your desk.
Quote:
UPDATE:
Oh. I guess if I would bother to do a little research, I would find the answer to my question.

I took a quick look at that listing in Wikipedia and frankly wouldn't bank on it for accuracy. Go to Intels web site and see what they have.
post #24 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by myapplelove View Post

I am all for progress but sometimes I think if this whole gradual introduction isn't motivated in part by making you change tons of peripherals...

Apple could go stupid here no doubt at all. Honestly I don't think that is the intent. Remember this one port to rule them all idea came from the community, Apple itself has said very little about its Lightpeak plans.

Beyound that a better high speed port is needed. USB 3 isn't all it is cracked up to be. Lightpeak would provide high speed across a much wider variation in use profiles. The reasoning for the faster port is sound, the problem may simply be in how Apple implements it.
post #25 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve-J View Post

The USB symbol is always on top when plugging in the connector. That is a USB standard. Manufacturers are supposed to emboss the symbol so that there is a tactile indication, but Apple just uses cheap USB connectors with the symbol printed on.

Don't blame the USB standard, blame Apple for not embossing the USB symbol.

On my iMac, which way is the top?
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post #26 of 56
This has been on Intels website for atleast a month now..
post #27 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve-J View Post

The USB symbol is always on top when plugging in the connector. That is a USB standard. Manufacturers are supposed to emboss the symbol so that there is a tactile indication, but Apple just uses cheap USB connectors with the symbol printed on.

Don't blame the USB standard, blame Apple for not embossing the USB symbol.

It's quite easy to detect the embossed symbol on Apple cables using your fingernail or fimgertip. I plug my iPod in every night in the dark with no problems. Apple also put a notch in the bottom of the metal portion of many of their USB plugs which is also easy to detect, and the square holes on one side of a USB plug are always solid rather than open, giving three ways to identify which way the plug goes. In short, Apples USB leads and plugs are as easy to use as any other (with the possible exception of Microsoft's, whose black plastic plugs makes identifying the solid squares holes very difficult).

But hey, if whining about a cable floats your boat, go for it.
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post #28 of 56
Apple brought the concept of Light Peak, an interoperable standard which could handle large amounts of data and replace the multitudinous connector types with a single universal connector, to Intel in 2007 with the intention of Intel producing and developing the technology.

How do you get that wrong?
post #29 of 56
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post #30 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by LandMineHare View Post

Apple brought the concept of Light Peak, an interoperable standard which could handle large amounts of data and replace the multitudinous connector types with a single universal connector, to Intel in 2007 with the intention of Intel producing and developing the technology.

How do you get that wrong?

PC people woudn't use it if they find out it comes from Apple. They'll just stick with USB3.
post #31 of 56
I think this will just come first, and have a few specific uses, along side USB 2, until sometime later in the year or 2012 light peak is expanded and USB 3 is rolled in underneath. Multiple ports won't go away. They'll slowly condense and become faster/more versatile.

No reason to panic.
post #32 of 56
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post #33 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post

So the next MBP will have USB, Firewire and Lightpeak ports?

Wish they spent more time developing better/faster wireless tech instead.

Nope. Just LightPeak??
post #34 of 56
FireWire 1600 with USB 3.0 will be always be there for the first few years, these two formats will act as a backup if LightPeak encounters problems in the starting, once its up and running i can see FireWire and USB being axed; were talking 5+ years from know, by then the speed of LightPeak should of just started rising higher then the 10GB standard..

not forgetting Bluetooth 4.0 around the same time, 2011 looks to be a big release year, i'm also holding out on buying till Fall 2011, oh reason why they produce an big and small connector of the same format, i think it down to power and need requirements, so that wont change for LightPeak but we should see the exit of many of these useless formats..
post #35 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenG4 View Post

If we got Light Peak with a magsafe connector, I would get chills.

Lightpeak as a Docking connector? Oooo, makes me all warm & fuzzy inside.
post #36 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

No one here has said anything with certainty. I'm not sure what even caused you to ask that question in the way you did.


Wireless sucks. You are likely one of those people that wonder about those of us that stress the need for Ethernet ports in our laptops. The reality is wired or optical connections are faster and more versatile. That will be the case well into the future even when the 60 GHz wireless standard is in place.

In my estimation Firewire is dead, USB however is likely to be supported for a very long time. The reality is Firewire is a problematic port for Apple, the sooner they can get rid of it the better.

It was a supposition based on the article above not a statement of fact hence the rhetorical question.

I've installed both wireless and ethernet networks. Wireless works fine for home or small office users if they don't need to transfer large data files but I agree it won't replace wired networks anytime soon.
post #37 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Intel had some good stuff on the net awhile back, you should see if it is still around. In any event I suspect that daisy chaining will be very expensive as that means another port.

Not sure why it would be so expensivea lot of Firewire devices had an additional port, which allowed daisy-chaining, and they weren't prohibitively expensive. Of course things are expensive in the development stages, but as the protocol becomes standardized, the actual interface hardware shouldn't cost that much.

Quote:
If Apple ever makes a laptop with only a Lightpeak port I will give up on the product line. A laptop would be useless without a couple of USB ports.

Yes. It would be phenomenally stupid for Apple to abruptly drop every port in 2011 in favour of Lightpeak. I was thinking more like 5-10 years down the road. USB has been pretty much the standard I/O port for the last 10 years. I was just wondering out loud if Lightpeak might possibly become the new standard I/O port. If it becomes the new standard (with incremental speed improvements over time), it would be pretty cool if all our peripherals could be daisy-chained to a single port.

Quote:
Not really, at least not from the info we have. There is likely a substantial protocol overhead for one. Then you have to take into consideration the bandwidth future displays will require. For example doubling the linear resolution means four times more pixels and a corresponding increase in data. You could blow a good portion of your bandwidth on just video. Then we have storage with solid state real close to 1Gbps now.

I think we're reaching the feasible limit for pixel resolution on displays. Even allowing for the possibility of 4K displays in the next five years, presumably LightPeak will be up to 100 GB/s by then (if LightPeak will progress at a similar rate to USB)

Quote:
On the flip side it is my understanding that transmit and recieve get their own fiber. If true then you might actually have the potential for 20Gbps. That being the combination or sum of the in and out speeds. This like much of the info about Lightpeak should be seen as tentative.

A scary thought has just hit me. What if they are summing 5Gbps in and out to get to the 10Gbps figure? That would really suck so I doubt it.

Holy crap! I sincerely hope that the advertised numbers are not adding input and output. That would be shamefully dishonest! Let's say for example, the 10 Gbps (btw. I'm realizing I was wrong by saying "GB/s"not the same as Gbps. My bad! ) was really 5 Gbps in + 5 Gbps out. Well, as a consumer, I'll be looking at the 10 Gbps, and think, oh wow, that means I could copy a 1 TB file in only 15 minutes! But, in reality it would take a half hour. That is misleading in my book. If it is some kind of additive thing, then they better include that in their literature and advertising!

Quote:
It has nothing to do with being a power user. In my mind it has a lot to do with the wisdom of running a high bandwidth protocol over a new bus when we have a perfectly good dedicated interface in display port.

I was actually just making a snarky remark about some of the comments I read from people who seem to care more about stats and numbers than they do about actual user experience. I like to refer to this as 21st century "geek machismo". Benchmarks are meaningless to "regular" guy like me. And I'm not going to notice the difference between a 2.6 GHz processor and a 2.8 GHz processor.
In terms of displayport vs LightPeak, I'm certainly not advocating that DisplayPort be dropped next year in favour of LightPeak. As in my point above about dropping ports, it would be phenomenally stupid of Apple to do something that drastic, especially as DisplayPort has not yet worn out its welcome. It's relatively new and has still got some years left. I'm talking again about 5-10 years in the future.

Quote:
Plus such an arraingement is sloppy because of all the adapters you would need to carry. It is bad enough that one needs to carry around display port to whatever adapters, going to a single Lightpeak port means an adapter for everything. This would be terrible for portable devices. On the otherhand Lightpeak would be great for connecting a laptop to a base station at your desk.

Again, it would be stupid for Apple to switch to LightPeak exclusively next year, for the very reason you sayeveryone would have to carry around adapters for their legacy peripherals. But, if Apple is smart, and adopts an evolutionary strategy, then eventually, as more and more peripherals adopt LightPeak, we could see a future where everything could connect to a single LightPeak port on a MacBook.

Quote:
I took a quick look at that listing in Wikipedia and frankly wouldn't bank on it for accuracy. Go to Intels web site and see what they have.

Yeah. I agree that it's not wise to use Wikipedia as an authoritative source. My standard practice is to use it as a starting point, and then verify what's there against other sources.
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post #38 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Wireless sucks. You are likely one of those people that wonder about those of us that stress the need for Ethernet ports in our laptops. The reality is wired or optical connections are faster and more versatile. That will be the case well into the future even when the 60 GHz wireless standard is in place.

I wouldn't go so far as to say wireless sucks, but certainly physical connections are faster and more reliable. I use Airport all the time, because it means that I'm not "chained" to my desk. I can be anywhere in the house and have access to the internet and to my network drive. It's like magic! But I do experience the occasional, inexplicable signal loss, which can be really annoying if happens in the middle of a chat, during a download, or during large file transfers over my network.
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post #39 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post

Fuck this - release ONE version small enough for mobile devices and DO NOT BOTHER with a larger version. When are these people going to learn?

I agree! It is so obnoxious to have to keep buying adaptors to connect what are supposed to be the same port. USB is the worst offender (What are there 6 kinds of plugs now?) but they did it with HDMI too.

If round isn't possible, (More then one fiber, for example) they could at least have a symmetrical plug that goes in two ways. It is easy and cheap to have a bridge circuit to keep the power polarity the same. Give us a reason to LIKE light peak.
post #40 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by cy_starkman View Post

This doesn't compete persay with USB etc

OT: If you don't know how to write "per se", use something simpler.
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