Apple set to introduce FaceTime HD, ThunderBolt I/O?

Apple set to introduce FaceTime HD, ThunderBolt I/O?

Specs for the upcoming MacBook Pro update seem to have been leaked online and among them are FaceTime HD and what just might be Apple's name for the 10Gbps LightPeak port -- ThunderBolt I/O.

Apple used to call MacBook cameras iSight, but since FaceTime launched on iPhone and iPod touch they've taken that name back to the Mac. If the 2011 MacBooks get 720p HD FaceTime cameras is that something we'll see on iOS as well?

Intel is set to have a LightPeak event on Thursday, also Steve Jobs' birthday and the date rumored for the MacBook Pro refresh. If the pictures are to be believed, Apple will be calling their LightPeak implementation ThunderBolt... which is also the name of the about-to-be-released HTC LTE Android phone on Verizon. If this all proves to be true, here's also hoping iOS gets ThunderBolt this year. Yes, small amounts of data should absolutely go wireless but for those occasions when you need to tether and transfer large amounts of data -- a bunch of movies, large navigation apps, big games, etc. -- after a restore, doing it in a few seconds would be huge.

Anyone else want FaceTime HD and ThuderBolt on their iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch?

[Fscklog via MacRumors]

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Apple set to introduce FaceTime HD, ThunderBolt I/O?


The only problem I see with this is the backward compatibility. Would Apple still use the 30 pin connector on their devices? Would the iPad 2 (if it has lightpeak) still be compatible with USB? Is there a way to update the MacBook Pro I just bought to lightpeak?

You need new hardware for light peack. Unless you have a desktop and put in a PCI-Express card with the ports and controllers.

Wasn't really implying any Macs did. Was simply saying that if the iDevices did use Light Peak they MIGHT be able to still operate on USB ports.

Om Nom, I will be at apple tomorrow getting my melting ipad replaced. So might pick up one of these.

Replaced with what? A current iPad? Because the new iPad's won't even be announced until next week.

I can't see iOS devices going thunderbird until it hits mainstream - can you imagine Apple shipping extra cables and/or adapters so both USB and thunderbolt are supported? It'll be so much expensive for Apple.
However, a new MacBook with one or two thunderbolt ports is something to consider, but will FireWire be...fired? I cant imagine something getting as popular as USB connections in the next 5 years or so. But that's just me

next thing you know you'll be connecting your phone to your Mac using the Flashing Rainbow Port and CrazySpaghetti Cables

Ugh, how many types of ports are we going to need now? I guess Intel is already over USB3 which isn't even really out yet. These companies need to make up their minds.

A new interface is only as useful as the devices there are to use it with. I could see Intel subsidizing or even flat out paying Apple to include it on iOS devices ASAP for the marketing boost it would provide. Millions of devices everyone has or wants ready to plug in. Every PC maker will rush to add it and peripheral makers will release I/O cards for millions of existing computers. Intel would make their money back and more in no time vs. just introducing a new interface for "normal" peripherals.

That would be a waste of $$$ for Intel, just having iOS devices support it will not get them anything. An iPad with LightPeak support is no good with the hundreds of millions of PCs out there with USB. Chances are good someone who just spend $500 on an new iPad isn't going to run out and buy a new computer just to transfer their Apps faster.
Intel needs to get it into computers first. My first iPod had this new technology called Firewire but it was useless because my computer did not have it. I had to buy a dual firewire/USB cable because iPods also at the time did not charge via USB at all. No one will deal with that these days.

Ok, who else is calling the Facetime HD camera/mic for AppleTV through mini-usb or at the very least Facetime to aTV over Airplay? That would be killer.

Yeah backwards compatiblity is a main concern. I see them putting one port on their computers and on the mobile devices only if it's backwards compatible. However I do see them adding it on their mobile devices in order to make use of the port on the computers. They may sell the cable as an option in the box or separately , almost as they use to sell wired keyboard and wireless ones. Eventually they'll stop putting USB on their macs and start selling LP cables standard.

The point of LightPeak is that it can replace all the cabling and buses external and internal to a laptop/desktop. So VGA, DisplayPort, HDMI, USB, Fireware, SATA, eSATA, PCI Express, etc can all be replaced by this one standard. Plus, like USB it is hotpluggable and can be daisy chained, and unlike USB cables can also run at 10Gb/s up to 100m. It would be beneficial all round if this became popular.
I don't see the point of LightPeak on a mobile device though since other parts such as the flash read/write speeds are already a bottleneck with syncing over USB2. They certainly would not replace the dock connector since the point of that is it is a well engineered dock connector that is robust and easy to insert/remove. Full USB connectors may be well engineered but they are not designed for docks. Mini-USB is similar, but micro-USB (the one the EU in mandating for phones) is a terrible standard that is far less robust and certainly not designed for docking.

I love how TiPb love to use the word HD when a new product of features is coming. Its not in Apples naming convetion. For the longest time TiPb would call the iPhone 4 the iPhone HD which would be dumb since what would be Next iPhone HD2?
Too confusing for consumers. They will introduce face time as facetime and thats all nothing else. Why make it complicated.

Thanks for the informative article, it was a good read and I hope its ok that I share this with some facebook friends. Thanks.