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Apple to Announce New High Speed Connection Technology?

Apple is expected to make an announcement about a new high speed connection technology, according to CNET.

Whether the new connector tech will be part of the upcoming MacBook Pro update (rumored to happen February 24) or announced in another context is not clear. Intel has been working on a technology called Light Peak for years and recently said the initial version would be based on copper, as practical realities dictate more conventional technology.

Apple is expected to adopt this Intel technology in the near future–but likely use a name other than Light Peak(see more below..), a source familiar with this aspect of Apple’s plans said. Intel has said in the past that the first products using Light Peak should appear in the first half of 2011.

Recently, an Apple patent application was unearthed that described the addition of a fiber optic line inside a MagSafe power connector to allow data transfer for multiple types of inputs.

Sony is also expected to be an early adopter of the technology.

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Intel Says Light Peak Will Replace USB 3.0

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Intel says its new Light Peak technology for optically linking devices will logically succeed USB 3.0.

“We view this as a logical future successor to USB 3.0,” said Kevin Kahn, an Intel senior fellow. “In some sense we’d… like to build the last cable you’ll ever need.”

Intel insists there is no conflict between the technologies since Light Peak allows USB and other protocols to run on a single longer cable at higher speeds.

“We expect both to exist together in the market and perhaps on the same platform at the same time.”

Light Peak can currently transfer data at a speed of 10G bps (bits per second) which would transfer a full Blu-Ray movie in less than half a minute. The technology could be scaled up to 10 times that speed in the next decade, Intel says.

The cable was demonstrated using a standard USB 3.0 port connector; however, Kahn said that “you could take the size way, way down” which is a crucial consideration for small mobile devices. The laptop used in the demo could still accept normal USB 3.0 devices in its USB port.

Interestingly, Intel has still not announced chipsets with built-in support for USB 3.0. AMD says they will have chipsets with built-in support for USB 3.0 but declined to say when.

It would appear Light Peak has the potential to replace USB 3.0 before it even takes off…

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