Apple Gets Intel to Create "Light Peak" Optical Connection -- All Your Ports Has Belong to Us


According to an Engadget exclusive, Apple brought a new specification for optical port connection to Intel who, after some heated back and forth, has produced Light Peak:

Based on what we've learned, Apple will introduce the new standard for its systems around Fall 2010 in a line of Macs destined for back-to-school shoppers -- a follow-up to the "Spotlight turns to notebooks" event, perhaps. Following the initial launch, there are plans to roll out a low-power variation in 2011, which could lead to more widespread adoption in handhelds and cellphones. The plans from October 2007 show a roadmap that includes Light Peak being introduced to the iPhone / iPod platform to serve as a gateway for multimedia and networking outputs. While the timing doesn't line up, a low-powered Light Peak sounds like the kind of technology that would be perfect for a device with a need for broad connectivity but limited real estate for ports... like a tablet.

Can one port rule -- and replace -- them all? Do we want to kiss our USB/FireWire, VGA/DVI/DisplayPort, Ethernet, and all other connectors goodbye and replace them with a single, standardized optical cable? Check out Engadget's full post for more, then let us know what you think.

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 22 comments. Add yours.

firesign3000 says:

yes please. i would love to replace the insane number of different ports and cables with one optical port. cannot happen soon enough.

icebike says:

This sounds really cool. Optical has its problems, but it is far less power hungry than wires, and the bandwidth is astoundingly wide and tunable.
But I wonder if the single connector idea will hold up for long. Seems unlikely. Connectors multiply like rabbits for reasons, mostly due to limited insight in the development phase. There are economic reasons too, as manufacturers seek to differentiate products to gain market share.
A industry DO-OVER would be pretty welcome at this point. We could then start all over re-wiring our buildings optically and tearing out all that copper (phone lines, and ethernet, and obsoleted fiber).
We won't get rid of ALL wires or get down to a single connector just yet. No one has figured out how to re-charge batteries optically, although wireless charger technology does exist.
I would expect the RIAA is catatonic over this development and will start early lobbying to plug the light-hole, just like they want to plug the analog-hole.

ezmac says:

Another Apple innovation that will make their line of gadgets stand out amongst the other - low life - brands...

smchrist2 says:

that would be great. it would be cool though if it was built in and could "pop out" with an extending cord. for macbooks only though. then you couldnt forget it and be screwed

Tom says:

i googled this, noone mentions anything other than intel being involved, likely apple and other companies will all introduce this simultaneously. Apparently Sony is on board as well so I am sure everyone will have it. The transfer rates of large files over USB are horrible, so I am glad that something will come out to improve it. Now if only we could get 10Gbits per sec wirelessly lol

Don says:

This is just another cool idea, among a long list of others, that proves that Apple practices what it preaches when it says - "Think Different!"
It also shows how, as I will point out next Monday on my own little blog, just what an immense impact Apple has, continues to have, and, no doubt, will continue to play in the overall future world of tech!

Extended says:

Hear that Microsoft? Only if your billions are put to good use.

fastlane says:

The physical keyboard junkies won't like this at all. They'll no doubt prefer keeping their cluster-ƒu©k of cables on their desks so they can feel them and occasionally move them out of the way.

Jersagfast says:

Sounds slightly expensive... But over all a good idea. 10Gbits.. :)

jtorrebl says:

Love the website, but why are there so many typos here. It seems like most of the articles have typos. Here, the title isn't a clear sentence. Don't ban me from the website please, I check you guys out all day.

SpiceRak2 says:

It sounds like a complicated and expensive transition but really, really cool.

Angel Febles says:

Keep experimenting instead of adopting a standard now. Just another excuse to by another iPhone. Pathetic, Apple

Caribou says:

The world converges on wireless...and people get excited about, yup, MORE wires!! Sheep.
Oh and the typos? "Physical keyboards" help avoid those.

Farmdreads says:

It was only a matter of time before all of the wires and ports became universal. Although this is only temporary because the future will be completely wireless - even power. Google it, you'll see.

icebike says:

What does your comment have to do with the technology under discussion?
Optical keyboards are more troublesome than radio ones. Optical requires line of site. Radio doesn't. Any stray coffee cup shuts down optical links. USB/Bluetooth will still be required for wireless keyboards.
But this has nothing to to with removing cables from keyboards. Or removing cables at all. Its all about different cables and faster speeds.

Light Peak is the code-name for a new high-speed optical cable technology designed to connect your electronic devices to each other.

Still the same number of cables... zero or one.

icebike says:


the future will be completely wireless – even power. Google it, you’ll see.

No, it won't. Even the so called wireless power chargers need to be plugged in. You might not need to plug in the 2014 Iphone, but you will still have to schlep around your charger.

fastlane says:

No, I wasn't referring to the subject of optical keyboards at all. I was just making light of the fact that those who prefer not to simplify their lives with touch iPhone keyboards (and needing to feel them) would also prefer not to simplify things with Light Peak technology.
It was only meant as a joke aimed at those afraid of change. Nothing to do with computer keyboards.
Sorry... I can see now how my comment can be taken another way. Just my warped sense of humor.

icebike says:

Swoosh! Right over my head.

impaler says:

Sounds very interesting and commpelling. I know I've been on a mission to eliminate all cables whenever possible. I like a very clean desktop, for instance. Apple has a history of pioneering what seem to be fringe technologies early, which become widely accepted (see FireWire, 802.11i, etc...)

Xo7 says:

Why develope this? Why Not using the MOST Standard? It's fast, It's opticall and in use since Years in many Million Cars for Multimedia Data like Video, Audio...

Rosanna Efird says:

Castle & GCB two of my favorite shows. Can't wait to read the book.Rachel

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