In the refreshingly new Macbook, there is a strong indication that “Thunderbolt” – a new I/O port will be introduced by Apple. It will be based on Intel’s Light Peak specification developed together with Apple.
Light Peak is an optical cable interface at 10Gbps, its present bandwidth that may range to more than 100Gbps eventually. Primarily, it provides ample bandwidth which can replace data connectors like SCSI, USB, SATA and FireWire. It also handles higher performance ports like eSATA and DisplayPort as well as Mini DisplayPort for Apple computers.
Light Peak covers all bases to allow Thunderbolt based Macbook Pros to connect to displays like Apple Cinema utilizing only one cable. It gives A/V and numerous data stream connections in 2 devices at once.
Its acceptance though may prove to be tough. USB remains an old habit that its successor, USB 3.0 is yet to advance. However, Apple has big plans for Thunderbolt as it may totally rid the need for port segregation. With Light Peak’s potential still abound, it’s Apple’s best way to start a gradual move to wireless generation as it may suit power user load for a longer time.
If all ports on a Macbook run the same and every device may connect to any of it and do its function such as data drives, external display and even a power adapter, that’s ultimate. Very ideal as it may sound, Light Peak provides the possibility. Given Apple’s influence in its big market, it is a big possibility.
Should Apple use its strong mobile device manufacturer pull, it can boost the Light Peak or Thunderbolt acceptance. It may be already doing that if it’s true that the future iPad 2 is backed with a Thunderbolt port. iPad has a whole industry keen in making one device peripherals hence it would be easier to have some of them create Thunderbolt-capable accessories. That if the accessories are cross-compatible with iOS, even iPhone and OS X, there could be manufacturers accepting the standard soon.
As technology, NFC and wireless communication standards like Wi-Fi Direct advance, it won’t be long before hardware ports and connections become insignificant. By then, Apple may already have seriously moved toward a hardware I/O standard with basic design principles. Apple said the iPad is something people already know how to use and it may apply to the ports too.