Light Peak is dead; Long live Thunderbolt

One interconnect to rule them all. One socket to plug them. One wire to bring them data. And in the FUD, bind them. Yes, Apple's new MacBook Pro gets Intel's Thunderbolt -- previously Light Peak.

Not an Intel Thunderbolt (USAF)
By Richi Jennings. February 25, 2011.

Intel is proud to announce Thunderbolt -- formerly known as Light Peak. Apple is proud to announce that it has exclusive use of it for 2011, initially in the new MacBook Pro. The plan is for it to sweep away all other interconnection standards, such as USB, Ethernet, DisplayPort, DVI, etc. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers can't see light at the end of the tunnel.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention Schrödinger would be proud...


Agam Shah mixes his metaphors:

First announced in 2009, Intel's Thunderbolt ... interconnect technology, formerly called Light Peak ... will transfer data between host devices and external devices at speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second. ... Contrary to what Intel said when the company first talked about Thunderbolt in 2009, it will not use light [yet] ... optical cabling for Thunderbolt will come later this year.


Apple will be the first to offer Thunderbolt technology in its new ... MacBook Pro. ... Thunderbolt could help reduce the number of connectors on PCs. ... Nevertheless, Intel will continue to support USB 3.0 and PCs could come with both USB and Thunderbolt. ... Thunderbolt currently communicates with devices using PCI Express for data transfers and DisplayPort for displays.

  Kit Eaton assembles more info: [You're fired -Ed.]

It's clever, super-fast, and is actually a stealthy trick to replace the rats nest of wires on your desk. ... The system will be familiar to users of that now-outmoded FireWire protocol ... speedy, bi-directional and aimed at replacing cable messes because it could be daisy-chained.


[It's] a stealthy, ninja-style trick ... By including Thunderbolt on new Macs--and possibly the ... iPad 2 ... Intel and Apple are trying to unseat the aging USB protocol from its throne before USB 3 has even hit mainstream consumer consciousness.

     Jonny Evans told you so:

As expected, the new MacBook Pros implement the Apple/Intel-developed Light Peak technology, called "Thunderbolt I/O" by Apple. ... Apple has now conceded that Thunderbolt was developed by Intel with "collaboration" from Apple. This will be why an Apple Mac Pro was used as a ... Light Peak ... demonstration machine ... in September, 2009.


This is an exciting technology, capable of delivering huge quantities of data to and from multiple devices. ... Thunderbolt can run multiple protocols simultaneously over a single cable ... [with] two bi-directional channels. ... .

Daniel Eran Dilger does DisplayPort:

By pairing the new interconnect with Mini DisplayPort ... Thunderbolt should also help drive adoption of the Mini DisplayPort connector as well, which so far has largely been limited to Apple's own equipment.


Thunderbolt ports can't be added to existing PCs via an expansion card ... the only way to have it is to buy a [new] system or logic board. ... That's because the Thunderbolt chip needs direct access to both the system's video and PCI Express architecture.


Intel demonstrated Thunderbolt's daisy-chain feature attaching ... to a fast RAID ... connected to a standard DisplayPort 1.1 monitor, performing high speed data transfers of multiple 1080p videos from a prototype Promise RAID device while delivering ... [HD] video to the display over the same cable.

But Darrell Etherington wonders what all the fuss is about:

It probably will be way more expensive than your standard USB gear. ... [So] for the foreseeable future, Thunderbolt usage ... will be light. ... The class of Mac owner that stands to gain the most from Thunderbolt in the short term is the media professional. ... Digital cameras are a good logical next step.


Intel ... acknowledged Thunderbolt would have limited, niche appeal. The impact ... won’t be felt for a long time.

And Sammy Brence delivers this crushing verdict:

Meh. ... It will be a Firewire fad at best. Gotta think about the “non” Geeks. ... USB wont ever go away ... the majority of the world ... know and understand USB. ... When you throw another I/O interface into the mix its just going to confuse people.


I'd get one on a PC, just like I did when Firewire was around, but im a Geek. ... Wont last long because it wont ever go Mainstream.


And Finally...

Schrödinger would be proud

Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email:

You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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