We had a look at Intel's newest connection standard, Light Peak
, during our stay at IDF last week. To be honest, we were floored by the possibilities. Optical cabling has always had huge potential, so it makes perfect sense to see Intel really pushing such a standard during a time with bandwidth is in high demand and data can't possibly be moved quickly enough.
Here's an interesting twist on the whole thing: it seems as if Apple has a whole lot to do with it. Yeah, Apple! Now, Apple
have been on speaking terms for quite a few years now. In fact, if sales of the company's Intel-based computers are any indication, we'd say Intel is quite pleased to have the California-based company as a partner. The MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac and Mac Pro machines all ship with Intel processors, and if certain reports are accurate, it seems as if the two companies have more in common than a simple CPU relationship.
Reportedly, Apple actually came to Intel with a cable proposition way back in 2007, shortly after the original iPhone (remember that thing?) was launched. Apple has always been a company that things differently. It's a motto, and it's a way of doing business. Thus, we're not shocked to hear that Apple was hoping to have Intel develop some sort of contraption that would allow users to pipe basically everything (video, peripherals, etc.) through a single "Light Peak" cable via a breakout box.
Details are thin at the moment, but it seems as if Apple machines could start shipping with Light Peak (and a breakout box) as early as next year. If we're envisioning this correctly, users would hook up their mice, keyboards, hard drives, scanners, monitors, etc. to a breakout box, and then connect that box to their Mac via a single Light Peak connector. We know, that sounds kind of pointless right now, but it does allow for very thin computers to have lots and lots of connectivity options. Imagine if your iPhone could dock to your Mac. Or what it Apple finally comes out with that tablet PC that has been rumored for so long?
Either way, what we're most excited about is the prospect of seeing Light Peak in action during 2010. If mainstream PCs begin to ship with this, the sky really is the limit when it comes to connections. The only question is this: will Intel sell Light Peak PCIe expansion boards, or will we have to shell out for all new motherboards?