Intel To Offer Light Peak Early Next Year

CNET reported

Light Peak, which was designed by Intel and is supported by Apple, is a high-speed peripheral connectivity standard that's perceived in some circles as a single universal replacement to HDMI, PCIe, and USB.

The two advantages Light Peak has over currently available technology are speed and compatibility. It supports transfer speeds of up to 10 Gbps, nearly three times the bandwidth of USB 3.0, currently the fastest optical cable option available.

USB 3.0 is not widely supported, in part because Intel has not offered USB 3.0 connectivity on its platforms. Intel is rumored to be waiting until 2012 to develop 22-nm CPUs with native support for USB 3.0.

Many industry watchers believe Light Peak will render previous technology, including USB 3.0, obsolete. However, Intel says that isn't the case.

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An Intel spokesperson told CRN that Light Peak would not replace USB 3.0. "Light Peak is just a transport mechanism," the spokesperson said. "Imagine each of these platforms as a train track. Light Peak is like a magic track -- any kind of protocol can run on top of it, be it HDMI, or USB. But Light Peak itself can't transfer any data."

Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Tuesday claimed that Apple's lack of USB 3.0 technology on its Macs was partly due to Intel not supporting it. However, the Intel spokesperson said USB 3.0 support is part of Intel's roadmap. "We don't have USB 3.0 support currently. However, Intel will have USB 3.0 support built-in to the chipsets at some future time."

Intel's spokesperson said Light Peak is due in 2011, but declined to offer a more specific time frame.