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02-23-2011, 09:11 AM #1
Thunderbolt: Apple's Light Peak Implementation
Just a day ahead of the expected launch of the 2011 MacBook Pro, the leaks are starting to come fast and furious. As Wiley reported last night, we've already seen specs leaked from a French site showing the new model with SSD boot drives and better battery life. Now a new leak from a German site indicates that the new MacBook Pro will come with a new type of interface called "Thunderbolt," which is apparently Apple's proprietary implementation of Intel's new Light Peak high-speed optical interconnect with Mini DisplayPort compatibility. A separate image shows the MacBook Pro with the new connector, which is the same size and shape as a Mini DisplayPort.
Rumors about Apple including Light Peak in their new models have been around for some time. Reportedly, Apple worked with Intel from the start on designing the standard, which can be used for data input/output and power as well as video. The first implementation of Light Peak is expected to deliver 10 Gb/s transfer rates, with the potential to scale to 100 Gb/s by the end of the 2010s. To put that in perspective, you could transfer full-length Blu-Ray movie in less than 30 seconds over a 10 Gb/s Light Peak connection. The assumption has generally been that users would need Light Peak-compatible peripherals to take advantage of the new port. However, this doesn't appear to be the case.
According to a spec sheet leaked by German site fscklog, the new MacBook Pro will come with a connector called "Thunderbolt," which is compatible with "High-Speed I/O" devices and Mini DisplayPort. This suggests that Apple's implementation of Light Peak is somewhat different than Intel's, which is not expected to be backwards-compatible with any other standard. A separate photo of unknown origin shows the new MacBook Pro with a Thunderbolt port that's the exact same size and shape of the existing Mini DisplayPort. Despite the fact that it seems like it could have very easily have been Photoshopped, the image has been "confirmed" by MacRumors to be "legitimate."
If true, there are a couple of major wins here for Apple. For one, they've got a broad range of compatible monitors that can instantly be used with Thunderbolt. For another, the shape of the connector means you always know which way to insert the cable: leaked images of Intel's connector show that it's symmetrical like USB. It's a little thing, but it's an example of Apple's design quality making a difference: the last thing the computer world needs is another kind of cable that goes in the wrong way half the time.
02-23-2011, 09:22 AM #2
I dont think its legit, at least I hope it isnt. Using the same form factor as USB would enable backwards compatibility on the ports and give you 3 or 4 ports instead of one. Also by including it into the mini-display port, it renders the port useless for someone using your average external display, granted Apple will probably try sell you a $30 adapter.
It's great that it can do 10Gb/s but no ones external HDD/SSD can read and write that fast. I can see it being useful having a light peak hub, with multiple HDD's plugged into one port and each operating at peak speed.
Also, the name sucks. Much prefer Light Peak.
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Nintendo Tim (02-23-2011)
02-23-2011, 09:40 AM #3
When it comes to rumors, I'm a harsh skeptic. That being said, I am 100% positive this is completely legitimate. A combination of the rumors being around for a while, a new-found need for faster I/O (anyone else dread iPhone syncing?), a creative, alternative name just like what they did with FireWire (it is officially called "IEEE 1394"), and now this promo image. Not to mention, it's a perfect explanation for why Apple's hasn't implemented USB 3.0 yet.
If this German site wanted to prove the legitimacy of this leak, they should upload a video of this new MBP. Apple's been known to claim copyright on product leaks in an effort to take them off of YouTube.
Anyone willing to make a wager? I'll put money down on this one =]
02-23-2011, 09:42 AM #4
I'm going to wait on this one til we see some actual physical evidence from a legitimate company/site. If its true then that's awesome and the new MBP's are going to be boss, but I'll hold off until something firm comes out.
02-23-2011, 10:00 AM #5
The name gives me the idea that "Thunderbolt" will perform slower than Light Peak. Thunder is sound... *facepalm*
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02-23-2011, 10:15 AM #6
I just bought my new 17" MBP less than a month ago. I knew there would be a refresh but I needed a new computer and got a great deal on it at best buy as an open box.
02-23-2011, 10:17 AM #7
For a creative company, this is what they came up with??? I will never refer to it as such. It sounds like the name of a terrible b movie.
02-23-2011, 10:51 AM #8
so that mystery port on the side of the ipad might be a Thunderbolt (Light Peak) Port?
02-23-2011, 11:32 AM #9
02-23-2011, 11:34 AM #10
I say it's fake, at least the image of the supposed Thunderbolt port.
Why would you utilize the Mini DisplayPort for LightPeak/ThunderBolt? If it's supposed to be "combating" USB 3.0 much like FireWire was doing for USB 2.0 (back then, having a 6 or 9 pin connection was pretty much the only way to get faster speeds than the 4-pin USB connection, so making a different port was the only way to get this done; must we refresh ourselves on Moore's law?), then utilizing the exact same size and shape of USB would make LightPeak that much more consumer friendly.
Now, MacRumors say the image of the 13" MBP's ports is legit, but what happened to the "3 USB port" rumor? Either that rumor died real quick - as in someone was blowing out hot steam - or this image is fake, because I don't see 3 USB ports on here.
02-23-2011, 11:59 AM #11
I just don't know... Apple has been down this road before with FireWire. They pretty well failed as I recall. Apple needs to give up on all this proprietary crap, why is HDMI so evil to them? Oh! Yeah, because they can make even more money off an adaptor!
I don't see this taking off, you can't adopt a different standard than the PC world without p!ss!n people off. FireWire failed for this reason, it was a much better name too, lol.
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02-23-2011, 12:11 PM #12
02-23-2011, 12:20 PM #13
Thunderbolt? Isn't that the name of the new HTC phone?
02-23-2011, 12:29 PM #14
This world is filled with too much speculation. Time to experience the beautiful here and now. Thanks, but I'll wait for the facts.
02-23-2011, 12:38 PM #15
I hope Nintendo Tim is correct, because if the new MBP use the mini displayport for transfering stuff, does that mean ii cant have a light peak harddrive connected and be using the HDMI output. like.. watching a movie off an extrnal on to your HDMI 1080i tv?
maybe this isnt an issue ATM, becuase not all HDD will feature it, but anyone else feel the same? or am i missing something?
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02-23-2011, 03:44 PM #16
Why not iBolt?
Last edited by steve-z17; 02-23-2011 at 03:48 PM.
02-23-2011, 03:48 PM #17
Thunderbolt isn't SUPPOSED to be an Apple-only thing; it's supposed to be the new USB.
02-23-2011, 05:31 PM #18
I think Lightning bolt would of sounded better than Thunder bolt. I would of left it as Light Peak. But thats just Apple taking someones else's idea's and calling it there own. "Cough, Cough "Cydia" Cough, Cough "App Store" just for one example.
02-23-2011, 06:06 PM #19
02-24-2011, 02:38 AM #20
HDMI is more proprietary than Mini DisplayPort. Apple use the DisplayPort standard for a number of reasons.
1. They don't have to pay high licencing fees to use HDMI
2. DisplayPort has some advantages over HDMI
3. While Apple is responsible for the Mini DisplayPort interface, other vendors can use it without paying any licencing fees. In fact, HP, Dell & Toshiba all have laptops available with Apple's Mini DisplayPort interface, and desktop computers with the standard size DisplayPort.
DisplayPort is a direct competitor of HDMI in the PC world, too.