According to an industry source contacted by CNET, Intel’s Light Peak technology development is nearing completion and it should be ready to go public in the first half of 2011 – earlier than initially expected. Light Peak is faster than USB 3.0 and can transfer up to 10 Gigabits per second in both directions simultaneously. USB 3.0 is not supported by Apple and a very few other PC makers have implemented the technology in their computers. Most of all, Intel itself hasn’t released chipsets compatible with USB 3.0 yet.
On the other hand, Light Peak has the chance to be backed next year by two major computer makers in the industry, Apple and Sony. Back in 2009, in fact, Intel stated that they had showed early prototypes of Light Peak to third parties and incorporated the feedback they got into their next designs, adding that Apple is an “an innovating force in the industry”. The demo Intel run on stage was based on a Mac, and Sony showed its appreciation for Light Peak in the past, too.
Even though Intel claims that, actually, they’re committed to the USB 3.0 project, it is clear that the money’s on the table with Light Peak, which is faster and lightweight enough to be implemented in new computers without adding bulk or extra space. Apple is expected to reveal new MacBook Pros in the April - June 2011 timeframe – that would be a good time to announce Light Peak coming to the next generation of OS X, wouldn’t it?
With Lion coming next summer, new MacBook Pros and a developer conference in June, the pieces might be coming together pretty soon.
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Federico is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of MacStories, where he writes about Apple with a focus on apps, developers, iPad, and iOS productivity. He founded MacStories in April 2009 and has been writing about Apple since. Federico is also the co-host of AppStories, a weekly podcast exploring the world of apps, and Dialog, a show where creativity meets technology.