Why Apple is betting on Light Peak with Intel: a love story

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  • Reply 81 of 113
    So that is an interesting story, but it reads WAY to far into the corporate relationships. I hate to break it to you, but while Intel and Apple have a good working relationship, there is no way either one of them is going to far out of the way for the other. Lets read this for what it is.



    Apple's side: They want new and innovative form factors. For anyone who has ever designed a PCB, you know that port connectors suck. They take up lots of space, and severely limit board layout and dimensions, and they are expensive. If you can eliminate connectors, board get smaller cheaper and more flexible. If Apple can eliminate ports without eliminating functionality, that is a huge win for future industrial designs.



    Intel: They get in at the ground level of a new interconnect, and they already have an industry backer lined up to used it. What this means for them is simple, chip sales. Intel makes a host chip or chipset that uses Lightpeak, and suddenly everyone wants Lightpeak and they are selling chips like gangbusters.



    So no, this isn't an elaborate love story of companies developing over years. It is a unique opportunity where market conditions have evolved to give an Apple/Intel team an edge. Apple leverages their market leading design skill, and Intel leverages their market leading chipset skills. Both parties win with the support of the other.



    All this stuff about legacy ports, Atom processes, ARM, etc is all unrelated. Business is about opportunities moving forward not those from the past.



    -JM
  • Reply 82 of 113
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,509member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by huntercr View Post


    hey Dan, not to nitpick too much, but Apple had built in 10base-T ethernet in the PowerMac 7200 in 1996.



    ( to be fair, alot of PC manufacturers also had standard ethernet by that time as well. I had a Dell 486 with a 3com 10/100 card preconfigured in it in 1994. Was it on the motherboard? no.. but still in the interest of being fair. )



    Apple *did* have the 1000base-T ports in desktops far before anyone else. I always thought that was really weird since no mortal user even had a switch that could handle the bandwidth ( at home anyway ), but I guess edit houses using the "brand new" ( at the time ) Final Cut probably loved it.





    meh



    My Quadra 950 from mid 1992 had Ethernet. It was, I think, the first computer other than workstations and others of their ilk to get Ethernet as a standard feature.



    Other models began to get Ethernet over the next few years until 1997 when virtually every Mac had it.



    This was well ahead of the PC world where it took until later for a substantial number to get it.
  • Reply 83 of 113
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,509member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    PCI was very quick to be adopted that I remember. It sems like it only took one motherboard generation. USB was a different matter. I think the biggest hurdle was OS support.



    The problem with PCI adoption on the PC was that it was done improperly. Because so many people still had 8 bit model boards and other old cheap junk that they didn't want to throw away, most manufacturers kept building machines with the obsolete ISA bus for years afterwards in the same machine. In the PC world, there is too much concern with backwards compatibility. It's one reason why PC's have so many problems.



    This caused all sorts of difficulty.



    One of the problems the PCI bus was supposed to ameliorate was the problems of "interrupts", which anyone here who used those older PC's is familiar with.



    Interrupts, for those who don't know what they are, was an old primitive scheme for plug-in cards. The old ISA bus needed to have each card use its own interrupt, so that led to many problems where more than one card wanted the same one. You could change which one cards used, but there was a limited number available. When you ran out, well, something had to give. It caused many problems. PCI does it differently, so there aren't those problems.



    But when a new PCI machine also had ISA slots, there were problems that affected the entire machine.



    Also, for those who remember, MS was trying to emulate the Mac - plug it in, and it just works. So they came out with "Plug-N-Play". That worked only with the new PCI machines.



    But if you had ISA slots, and just one card plugged in the ISA, well, because of the interrupts, and timing problems, Plug-N-Play wouldn't work.



    Later on, in an interview, Gates was asked about Plug-N-Play, and his response was that; "It didn't work as well as we thought it would."



    When Apple moved from the NuBus to PCI, there was speculation as to whether Apple would include any NuBus slots. They didn't. So while for about a year after the changeover there were fewer cards for the new Macs, there were none of the headaches the PC industry experienced for years afterwards.



    There's nothing like making a clean break.
  • Reply 84 of 113
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,509member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by star-fish View Post


    No one wants to hear your life story...this article isn't about you. Why are you making it about you?



    Actually, we DO like reading about other people's life stories. That's how we become a community of people, rather than just a big bunch of screen names.



    When you know more about someone, you can understand why they feel the way they do. That's important when interpreting someone's remarks.



    You know, like your friends.
  • Reply 85 of 113
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by star-fish View Post


    No one wants to hear your life story...this article isn't about you. Why are you making it about you?



    It's called replying to someone else who thinks Dan made up all the tech history in his articles.



    Care to revise the history of Microsoft with me? I had a person say that I was drinking Kool-Aid for believing the lies of Apple of how Win98 crashed all the time. That loser probably is only 12 years old and never personally used Win98.
  • Reply 86 of 113
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Sorry but you don't know what you are talking about. There is limited bandwidth to dedicate to computer communications. At best you will get more reliable interfaces for short range device communications but that is about it.



    Now you reinforce the fact that you don't know what you are talking about and can't find decent analogies.



    Reliability, security and speed. Not to mention the limited space for RF communications in the first place.





    Three strikes and your out.





    Dave



    Thank you for saving me the trouble.
  • Reply 87 of 113
    maximaramaximara Posts: 409member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by newuser1980 View Post


    apple in history always like to change cpu every 10 years, they don't stay with one cpu, they do this because you can't keep using your old software, just like they moved from powerpc to intel, all the software needed to upgrade, after you own the new software they will change to another type of cpu, then all your software need to be upgrade again.



    now they bought the new cpu factory, that means, they will produce cpu for iphone and ipod, later they will get rid of intel and produce cpu for their macbook and desktop.



    after 5 years apple will switcxh os, maybe use back the os9 or use BEOS



    You're kidding right?



    Apple went to the PowerPC because the 68060 did not live up to expectations and they went Intel when the dedicated chip market made the PowerPC a supply boon doggle.



    I should point out that well written programs take a lot to break. World Builder a 1986 program case in point; the program didn't totally break until the switch to Intel in 2006 some 20 years later. Hypercard was another old kept going until the end program of similar age.



    The real reason most programs break is not because CPU changes but because so many programmers are sloppy about writing programs, take risky shortcuts, or both.
  • Reply 88 of 113
    x38x38 Posts: 97member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    This is an interconnect protocol, and physical system. It doesn't matter what information moves over it.



    Remember that when you are talking about digital, it's all 1's and 0's. That's really about it.



    What this does is to provide a very fast way of moving those 1's and 0's across a cable to somewhere else.



    As far as the protocols for whatever is being moved, they will remain the same.



    USB will still be USB at the bus level, and so will FW, SATA



    That's the beauty of this.



    If another protocol is invented meanwhile, this can be used to transport it. That's never been the case before.



    So if at first, only USB and FW are moving through this, but later, SATA is desired, it can be done. as can any other protocol being used.



    There are several levels to all transport types. One level is the very low level software protocols used for basic interfacing with whatever it functions with, such as the software in the computer bus. Then there is the level that is the standard, whatever that may be, FW, USB etc. Then there is the physical level, which is the actual components and their interfaces with the hardware.



    This appears to have the lowest level and the physical level, but leaves the middle level to be used by the various standards.



    Thanks, that clarifies a lot of my questions. It sounded like that was the case in some of the discussions, but it was hard for me to tell for sure. Does that mean that the new Intel controller chip at each end of the line has enough smarts to do all the emulating of other protocols? I assume that would be necessary to emulate more sophisticated connections like FW with its peer-to-peer architecture?



    (I think you were actually answering my other post though. Any thoughts on the possibility that this system has the optical encoder/decoder built into the plug to avoid the user making & breaking optical connections?)
  • Reply 89 of 113
    x38x38 Posts: 97member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Maury Markowitz View Post


    > if Light Peak's economies of scale drives down the price of optical cabling as expected

    > ...



    As to the cable that Light Peak uses, it is a real breakthrough. Optical cabling has always had serious advantages over copper, but it also has three major downsides. One is that it doesn't supply power, but that's easy to solve with some copper running beside the fibre. Another is that the connectors are bulky AND fragile, which is purely a design issue. But the main problem for the consumer space is that the fibres are surprisingly inflexible, and need large radius curves. They're fine in the back-office but you couldn't expect to plug in your iPod or run it to your keyboard.



    And that's where Corning comes in. This new fibre they've developed is extremely flexible. Not as flexible as thin copper, but definitely more flexible than larger wires like the one hooking up my monitor. Flexible enough that you could seriously consider using it to replace copper in pretty much everything other than the mouse cable, which needs to be REALLY bendy. Thank you Corning!



    Maury





    Fascinating. A couple of years ago a Verizon FIOS installation tech told me that the biggest remaining bottleneck they were trying to solve was getting fiber inside the home. He made it sound like the biggest problem with that was the limited bend radius of fiber which would cause a lot of difficulty for home users to handle themselves and which would in turn mean a lot of botched installations and expense. If they could find a break through on the cable flexibility they expected fiber in the home to become practical and open up the possibility of significant speed improvements. If what you say about the Corning break through is part of this, then it might be a very big deal indeed.



    It also sounded like the other major hang up was the delicacy of optical connections as you mentioned. It looks to me from the Intel web page that maybe this Light Peak system keeps the optical connections within the cable plugs such that they are made at the factory and the user only makes traditional copper connections. If so, that would seem to solve the connection problem quite nicely. Maybe I am just imagining that though, any thoughts?
  • Reply 90 of 113
    x38x38 Posts: 97member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    ...



    Quote:

    Originally Posted by X38

    {Systems like Verizon FIOS have already solved the "last mile" problem and easily beat cable in cities lucky enough to have it. Even FIOS is bottlnecked by copper once it gets inside the home though. Maybe we should call that the "last foot" problem. I've heard they have been working on a solution, but haven't made it economical yet.

    This Ligh Peak looks like it might quickly end up being the de facto solution to the "last foot" problem. Just imagine - a high speed optical connection all the way from the phone company trunk lines to the motherboard of your computer.}





    It's not a problem for the immediate FIOS doesn't saturate 100Mbit Ethernet. Then there's gigabit. There are 10gigabit ethernet standards that use copper too. When you're talking about shorter distances, optical doesn't have quite the same advantage, though optical is probably more reliable at 10gig anyways.

    ...



    The need for fiber in the home for significant improvements to FIOS was told to me by a FIOS installation tech a couple of years ago. He said there was some room for improvement in FIOS speed with the current system, but to really reach its full potential they were working on practical ways to bring fiber from the network interface terminal on the outside of the house all the way to each router, TV interface box, etc. The costs and difficulties for home users to deal with optical connections and the stiffness of fibers seemed to be the main problems. If this Light Peak really has solved those problems, then it would be just the break through needed. If it can even carry an ethernet signal, then there is no reason to stop the fiber at the router - just go all the way to each computer.
  • Reply 91 of 113
    docno42docno42 Posts: 3,755member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by fyngyrz View Post


    Cables? CABLES?



    The future is wireless.



    Not for me. Wireless may be nice for some things, but wired will always be faster and more reliable.
  • Reply 92 of 113
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,509member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by X38 View Post


    Thanks, that clarifies a lot of my questions. It sounded like that was the case in some of the discussions, but it was hard for me to tell for sure. Does that mean that the new Intel controller chip at each end of the line has enough smarts to do all the emulating of other protocols? I assume that would be necessary to emulate more sophisticated connections like FW with its peer-to-peer architecture?



    (I think you were actually answering my other post though. Any thoughts on the possibility that this system has the optical encoder/decoder built into the plug to avoid the user making & breaking optical connections?)



    I haven't yet read Intel's specs. But their interface is involved in getting the light back into electrical form. Whether they have decided to add controller chips for any protocols, I don't know.
  • Reply 93 of 113
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,951member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by X38 View Post


    The need for fiber in the home for significant improvements to FIOS was told to me by a FIOS installation tech a couple of years ago. He said there was some room for improvement in FIOS speed with the current system, but to really reach its full potential they were working on practical ways to bring fiber from the network interface terminal on the outside of the house all the way to each router, TV interface box, etc. The costs and difficulties for home users to deal with optical connections and the stiffness of fibers seemed to be the main problems. If this Light Peak really has solved those problems, then it would be just the break through needed. If it can even carry an ethernet signal, then there is no reason to stop the fiber at the router - just go all the way to each computer.



    FIOS is nowhere near providing any kind of speed that would saturate in-house CAT5e/6, there's no reason to drop the copper until they do. There may be the untapped bandwidth, but the limits of in-house wiring is not why they aren't giving you a faster link.
  • Reply 94 of 113
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by X38 View Post


    It also sounded like the other major hang up was the delicacy of optical connections as you mentioned. It looks to me from the Intel web page that maybe this Light Peak system keeps the optical connections within the cable plugs such that they are made at the factory and the user only makes traditional copper connections. If so, that would seem to solve the connection problem quite nicely. Maybe I am just imagining that though, any thoughts?



    Well all I can say for sure is that the current connectors are all-optical end-to-end. This is a problem because it's very easy to get reflections off the end of the cable if they don't meet really nice and flat. That's why TOSLINK cables are so tightly connected.



    In the case of the computer cabling I've used it's typically two fibres ending in this big plastic block. The connector is surprisingly large, oddly shaped and flimsy. It's terrible industrial design. I can imagine a dual-TOSLINK connector though, one that would fit firmly enough and still be easy to work with. In fact, it would seem the existing FW connectors would have all the right qualities.



    BTW, you know where the FW connector came from? It's adapted from the Game Boy. Yes, that's true, right from Michael Teener's mouth.



    Maury
  • Reply 95 of 113
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


    Anyway, insults aside, if you really want to get at the truth of any subject one of the best ways to get there is by reading about the context and history of the item in question.



    I couldn't agree more. Sadly, however, this article contains nothing of the sort. Do you see any "context" other than bland generalities about unrelated topics, or "history" about anything related to THIS topic? I see neither. After three pages we're left with a single block of text about the actual topic, one that merely regurgitates the existing press feed. Can you find a single statement about Light Peak that isn't copied from another source?



    If I want the Wikipedia, I'll go to the Wikipedia. At least that tends to be on-topic (I should know, I probably wrote it).



    Maury
  • Reply 96 of 113
    Finally found a useful image:



    http://www.engadget.com/2009/09/26/e...ntel-could-be/



    Note that the connector shown in the Intel press documents is visible on the inside of the case, just to the left of the Apple logo (pasted on top). The controller has several fibres leading from it, and one of those curls around into the topomost of the four ports. That port is also connected to a small PCB that clearly also includes power.



    So I think it's safe to say this is light-to-the-motherboard, AND supplies power. Looks like an adaptation of the FW connector, too.



    Maury
  • Reply 97 of 113
    normmnormm Posts: 653member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by fyngyrz View Post


    The future is wireless. Get the damned cables off my desk. All of them. I don't want to see anything more than power cords, and I'm not all that happy with them, either.



    If there's a power cord, there might as well be a Light Peak optical fiber inside it, with the whole thing connecting the laptop to the monitor.
  • Reply 98 of 113
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,509member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Maury Markowitz View Post


    Finally found a useful image:



    http://www.engadget.com/2009/09/26/e...ntel-could-be/



    Note that the connector shown in the Intel press documents is visible on the inside of the case, just to the left of the Apple logo (pasted on top). The controller has several fibres leading from it, and one of those curls around into the topomost of the four ports. That port is also connected to a small PCB that clearly also includes power.



    So I think it's safe to say this is light-to-the-motherboard, AND supplies power. Looks like an adaptation of the FW connector, too.



    Maury



    It's apparently an adaption of the USB connector.
  • Reply 99 of 113
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    ..................

    There's nothing like making a clean break.



    Sweeter words have never been spoken!



    It should be noted that interrupts and cad addresses aren't in and of themselves big deals, but the users had to be capable of understanding configuration issues. An engineer can easily get such cards up and running on a specific system. The problem is systems change and users really don't have the background.



    As to Apple I suspect that one reason we see a limited number of machines supporting slots, from them, is that slots add to warranty issues. Like it or not if you leave the slots out of a consumer grade machine there are far fewer ways for the user to screw up his machine. Especially with rugged I/O through connectors like USB.



    Dave
  • Reply 100 of 113
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,509member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Sweeter words have never been spoken!



    It should be noted that interrupts and cad addresses aren't in and of themselves big deals, but the users had to be capable of understanding configuration issues. An engineer can easily get such cards up and running on a specific system. The problem is systems change and users really don't have the background.



    As to Apple I suspect that one reason we see a limited number of machines supporting slots, from them, is that slots add to warranty issues. Like it or not if you leave the slots out of a consumer grade machine there are far fewer ways for the user to screw up his machine. Especially with rugged I/O through connectors like USB.



    Dave



    The other problem PCs had with interrupts was that there weren't enough of them. The way Apple handled it solved the problem.



    We constantly get this call for slots, but people rarely use them when they have them. The consumer Macs are being aimed at a group that never used the slots.



    Apple knows that they're not going to get 70% of the PC business, so they can afford to ignore those who want slots. There are a vast sea of people out there who will move to a Mac, or not, solely because of the OS, and the way the machine looks.



    This is true for people who are demanding a higher performing machine.
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