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Intel’s ‘Light Peak’ due Thursday, may be called ‘Thunderbolt’ by Apple

intel-light-peakThis Thursday, Intel plans to unveil its new high-speed connection technology, “Light Peak,” according to a CNet report. The news boosts rumors that Apple will release its latest line of MacBook Pro laptops, also on February 24, which are expected to incorporate the Light Peak technology.

According to an official Intel media statement, the chip maker will hold a “press briefing” in San Francisco on Thursday “to discuss a new technology that is about to appear on the market.”

Funny enough, Apple is also expected to make a big announcement on Thursday, which could include not only a new line of MacBook Pros, but also an update to its line of iMac desktop computers — though that last part is far more speculation than fact, so potential iMac customers shouldn’t hold their breath on that one.

Reports out this morning from 9to5Mac indicate that Intel’s Light Peak technology will be called “Thunderbolt” by Apple, based on a couple of blurry shots taken by the unpronounceable German Apple blog fscklog.com. Another leaked photograph, which is purportedly of new MacBook Pro, shows that the Light Peak/Thunderbolt port will go where the MiniDisplayPort was on the last MacBook Pros. If true, it’s not yet clear where the MiniDisplayPort will go.

Thunderbolt-MacBook-Pro-Light-Peak

So why is Light Peak a big deal? Because it’s significantly faster than any other standard connection, of course. So fast, in fact, that it could push USB out of its top spot in the world of data transfer connections.

Under development for the past few years, Light Peak uses light instead of copper to transfer data at up to 10 gigabits per second. That’s twice as fast as USB 3.0, which can only transfer at 5 gigabits per second. Intel says that Light Peak may be able to reach speeds of up to 100 gigabits per second in the future.

Even twice the speed, however, means a new standard connection could be born this week — and it looks like Apple plans to be first on the bandwagon.

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