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Intel Portables Portables (Apple) Apple Hardware

New MacBook Pros To Sport Light Peak Technology 356

Posted by Soulskill
from the obsoleting-your-dongles dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Over the past few years, Apple has systematically upgraded the base level MacBook to a level where the difference between the Pro and consumer models were arguably becoming negligible. That's about to change. Apple will reportedly introduce a completely re-designed MacBook Pro this April that will borrow features from the recently released MacBook Air. The new Pros will reportedly come with an SSD and Light Peak technology, a transfer protocol capable of 10 Gbps both up and down. Light Peak, jointly developed by Intel and Apple, will reportedly be an Apple exclusive at first."
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New MacBook Pros To Sport Light Peak Technology

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  • Fantastic (Score:2, Funny)

    by binarylarry (1338699)

    Apple customers will subsidize the adoption of this technology, so I can buy a similar laptop in 6 mos for much cheaper.

    Thank you Steven Q Jobs! :)

    • Re:Fantastic (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Friday November 26, 2010 @06:39PM (#34353562)

      Apple customers will subsidize the adoption of this technology, so I can buy a similar* laptop in 6 mos for much cheaper.

      * For sufficiently loose definitions of "similar".

  • I thought they discontinued that technology in favour of USB 3...

    Now the most obvious reaction is to just say "Meh, apple can play around with their expensive toys".

    But history has shown that within 1 month we'll have SUPER LAPTOPS with this technology in them.

    I can't understand anything...
    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      I think they want to make USB 3 obsolete before it has a chance to really take off. Yes, I'm sure you can give me real-world examples of USB 3 hardware already for sale but it's not widespread yet.

      I'd bet that there's more DisplayPort/mini DisplayPort hardware than USB 3 hardware at this point.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by obarthelemy (160321)

      I think lightpeak is both much faster and much more versatile, and aims to replace usb, firewire, dvi, hdmi, even ethernet. this may be a good thing, because my experience with USB ( and , no yet) has been quite bad, from compatibility issues, to slow transfers, to high cpu usage. I lamented the fact that firewire was not cheaper and more widespread... maybe i'll get my wish with lighpeak.

      • (usb 1 and 2, no 3 yet) stupid numlock.

      • What are your compatibility issues with USB? The only compatibility issue I have with USB is when I try to plug the damn thing in upside down.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I assume he refers to the unfortunate mixture of optimism, on the part of peripheral manufacturers, and strict adherence, on the part of some computer makes and models, to the USB spec's sections on power delivery. USB2 is quite clear about 5VDC, 500ma; but devices that work poorly, partially, or not at all without at least a few hundred ma more are downright ubiquitous. How exactly a fiber optic interface is going to solve that particular market problem is utterly beyond me; but it is a pain in the ass in
      • It'll be a cold day in hell before anything replaces ethernet. Do you have any idea what the install base on that stuff is? and the fact that(aside from autonegotiation issues on some chipsets) you can get anything from 10mbit crap with external AUI dongles to contemporary 1Gb gear happily chatting away on even a fairly cheap switch?

        The consumer market is, increasingly, wireless for anything that isn't within a few meters of the ugly-stack-o-network-gear that inevitably collects next to the DSL or cable
        • Re:Light Peak? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sirsnork (530512) on Friday November 26, 2010 @06:40PM (#34353582)
          It doesn't have to _replace_ ethernet.

          Imagine a dock or port bar on your desk, you bring your laptop in plug in a single connector (although you may need power too, depends how Apple implement it) and everything on your deks now works, screen, keyboard, mouse, printer, ethernet... everything.

          Thats something a LOT of laptop users have wanted for a very long time, and this is the potential in a standardized cable format not some propriety thing with 200 seperate wires so the slightest bend of the cable and you lose your display and have to buy a new dock/portbar
  • There's still hope (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Yvan256 (722131) on Friday November 26, 2010 @05:15PM (#34352880) Homepage Journal

    Let's drop VGA, DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, FireWire 400, FireWire 800, USB 3 and only use two types of ports: USB 2.0 for the low-cost/low-bandwidth stuff and LightPeak for everything else.

    Wait, what about my old EZ135 SCSI drive? Those carts have 135 MEGABYTES each! That's a lot of data! Oh, my USB flash drive can store 118 of those carts, never mind.

    • by vux984 (928602) on Friday November 26, 2010 @05:33PM (#34353068)

      and LightPeak for everything else.

      Will lightpeak be able to power my external hard drive? Will it charge my HD video camera while I pull video off it? Is it easily adaptable to HDMI? My new TV doesn't have a lightpeak port, and I'm not interested in buying another tv to get one.

      I can hdmi cables for under $10. How long before lightpeak cables are that cheap?

      DisplayPort is fine and all, but the adaptor to connect my macbook to my tv cost a small fortune, and it uses the headphone jack for optical audio, the displayport for video, and the usb port to power the adapter that converts it all to hdmi. A good PC laptop comes with an HDMI port... which just works with external equipment.

      Hey apple, I'm onboard with modernizing connectors and letting the legacy fall away. Your switch to USB was welcome (although your awfully stingy with ports.)

      But every generation of your laptop doesn't need a whole new video connection. PCs are going from VGA to HDMI. That makes sense. Macs... started with some apple proprietary garbage, to mini dvi, to mini displayport, and now on to light peak... 4 separate connectors in the same period of time, while managing to bypass anything that anyone actually uses for anything else.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by PhunkySchtuff (208108)

        But every generation of your laptop doesn't need a whole new video connection. PCs are going from VGA to HDMI. That makes sense. Macs... started with some apple proprietary garbage, to mini dvi, to mini displayport, and now on to light peak... 4 separate connectors in the same period of time, while managing to bypass anything that anyone actually uses for anything else.

        Umm, Apple have used VGA and then DVI and then Mini DisplayPort for video interfaces in the past 10 years. They had mini versions of these connectors, for which you were also given the necessary dongle to upsize it to the standard version of the interface.

        There was also the short-lived ADC which was a superset of DVI and all machines that had an ADC connector on them also had a standard VGA or DVI port on them too.

        On the PC front, you also seem to have forgotten DVI, which I'd warrant is a lot more common t

      • Will lightpeak be able to power my external hard drive? Will it charge my HD video camera while I pull video off it?

        Any description I've seen of it includes the ability to transmit power along with data. Yes.

        Would you be interested in pulling video data off a camera in 5 realtime?

        Is it easily adaptable to HDMI?

        Probably, just as you can transmit HDCP encrypted video over a DVI connection just as easily as DisplayPort.

        DisplayPort is fine and all, but the adaptor to connect my macbook to my tv cost a small fo

  • If Light Peak is everything it's cracked out to be, I want to see it replace idiotic Infiniband and FC on HBAs, stat! We've been stuck on these outdated interfaces for far too long.

    • by sirsnork (530512)
      IB is much less about bandwidth and much more about latency. I doubt seriously that this will have latency even remotely competitive with IB
  • So Apple is finally catching up with SSDs in laptops. Light Peak is still in its infancy and useless as there are no devices to connect to it yet. Why pay more for something that should be standard now, and something that it's going to be useful until he laptop is well past its prime?

    • by Microlith (54737) on Friday November 26, 2010 @05:29PM (#34353044)

      Chicken and Egg.

      If laptops have the ports people will develop devices for it. That Macs are -known- to be coming with them then it's highly likely that peripheral manufacturers are creating devices that use it to be ready for the release.

    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      The same could almost be said for USB 3. What's the point of USB 3 when there's eSATA? USB 3 is too slow for connecting a monitor, we already have ethernet ports... You either move forward or you'll get stuck with parallel ports, serial ports, SCSI, etc.

      It's also a chicken-egg problem, device manufacturers won't make anything compatible with LightPeak until there is at least some computers with it.

      • by Vancorps (746090)

        huh? I use USB 2.0 DVI adapters all the time so I can have three monitors on my laptop, I can even string six or more of them together and you think USB 3.0 somehow couldn't handle that? As someone that already has USB 3.0 in my machine and external hard drives with USB 3.0 support I can say that the same is not true for USB 3.0. eSata has it's own problems and you're relying on your motherboard to time it correctly, nine times out of ten when I reboot a computer with a Drobo hooked to it, it will fail to p

    • by DJRumpy (1345787)

      Finally catching up? They were the first to offer SSD as a standard drive. As far as I know, they are still the only manufacturer to do so. The others still offer it as an upgrade, but not baseline as Apple has started to do. You'll also be hard pressed to find manufacturer's offering 512 GB SSD drives from the factory, also as Apple is already doing.

      As to the 'why', Light Peak to USB adapters will most likely be an easy win for manufacturer's who aren't yet ready to make the jump to Light Peak, meaning it

      • by amorsen (7485)

        It's hard to see why "taking away the choice between a traditional hard drive and SSD" would be innovation. Why would it be innovation that something is baseline rather than only fitted on certain models?

        • by Winckle (870180)

          Because it means the size of the laptop can be greatly reduced as the chassis no longer has to account for a hard drive bay.

        • by fluffy99 (870997)

          It's hard to see why "taking away the choice between a traditional hard drive and SSD" would be innovation. Why would it be innovation that something is baseline rather than only fitted on certain models?

          I wouldn't call it innovation either, but a design choice. It does give better speed, albeit typically lower capacities. They might even go proprietary on the SSD and not use the standard form factor for an SSD drive or include it on the mainboard, allowing them to gain real estate within the chassis. Imho, that would be a mistake, but then again how many MacBook owners actually upgrade components instead of buying a who new unit?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        I think Lenovo beat them to it with the x300. Also, the first eee pc's all came with ssd's.
      • The Sony Vaio Z Series laptops actually come with 2 SSD's in RAID 0, and this is the standard option.
  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Friday November 26, 2010 @05:27PM (#34353020)

    are we in for $30+ adapters to use usb e-net / dvi / vga / hdmi / display port / firewire?

    Does ATI and NVIDIA video work over light-peak? Or will you need some kind of voodoo 1 daisy-chained cable setup?

    also what about mouses and key boards light peak is extreme overkill in them?

    What will light peak hubs and cables cost?

    how much power can a cable pass?

    Will you need a powered hub / powered adapters for DVI / VGA / Display port out?

    they need to keep the Ethernet port.

    What about sound?

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday November 26, 2010 @06:15PM (#34353378)

      Well who knows how it will work in Apple land. They are known for forcing changes because they think they are cool, whether it is time or not. For other manufacturers, Light Peak is just going to be another port at first. It isn't going to replace anything. Capabilities aside, you need to wait as peripherals get support. The first things I expect to see are external HDDs, and things like pro audio/video capture equipment. Video is going to be some time. No monitor today supports Light Peak (and relatively few even support DP) so it'll be some time. If it is to gain any traction, it'll have to have an interface to work with the high end discrete cards.

      Even then it may need to develop a generation or so before it is useful 10gbps is not fast when you talk video. It is acceptable, but not fast. DP has 17gbits of bandwidth with its current standard, HDMI has 10gbits. So it is around as fast as current video standards, but offers no real speed advantage, which is really what it would take to force a change at this point. HDMI is heavily entrenched because it is what home theater gear uses. The reason to move to somethign else would be higher resolution, colour depth, and frame rate displays will need more. Say we want 2560x1600@30bpp@120Hz. That would need about 15gbits so DP could barely handle it, but nothing else. Now suppose we go with a 4k display, and 96bpp (32-bit floating point per colour to allow for HDR) again at 120Hz. Now we need 108gbps. So if a connector can offer much higher bandwidths, there'll be interest as we eventually want that for video, but at 10gbps Light Peak offers nothign the current ones don't. If Intel let's nVidia and AMD support it they probably will, but otherwise people will give it a miss.

      For networking, no fucking way. Networking is stuck on Ethernet because networking uses Ethernet. It sounds like a tautology and that is really how it works. All local area nets are Ethernet. As such you have to support Ethernet to use them. As such all devices ship with Ethernet, as such all future stuff has to support it and so on. Nobody is going to redo their network to Light Peak. This is particularly true because 10gbE is already here, and really with networks even 1gig is really fast. Your network is local disk speed at that point. So you aren't going to convince people to dump their existing infrastructure for it.

      In the long run Light Peak may become a popular somewhat universal computer interconnect but it is not happening any time soon. If Apple thinks they can force it they are wrong (for that matter they didn't force USB adoption, Mac users had to deal with it and then the industry moved that way at its own pace). However networking it will probably never replace, just because of the massive installed base of Ethernet.

  • If this is true, someone really doesn't get it.

    The usefulness of a port is directly proportional to the number of things you can connect to it. Exclusivity means fewer devices available.

    I'd much rather have USB 3.0 than any kind of exclusive port.

    Isn't exclusive just another way of saying proprietary?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Microlith (54737)

      Isn't exclusive just another way of saying proprietary?

      No, it just means they're the first to roll it out. I expect it'll start appearing on expansion cards and other motherboards not long after. But Apple will get to tout having the first systems with the interface.

      • by spyfrog (552673)

        Yeah, and as long as they are the only one rolling out the Lightpeak because they are the only one allowed, there will be almost no devices made to plug into the interface... an interface without anything to plug in isn't much to brag about.

        • by Microlith (54737)

          there will be almost no devices made to plug into the interface

          Just like no one ever made devices that plugged into the far more proprietary Apple Dock port? Come now, it's an Intel backed technology that appears first in MacBook Pros and is guaranteed to appear shortly afterward across the PC market.

          The only question is what will appear, not if anything will appear.

          • by spyfrog (552673)

            I am not saying they won't appear.
            I am saying that most won't appear until Apples exclusive right is over.
            Having "exclusive right" off an interface is only stupid - you want an interface to be as widespread as possible so as many uses it as possible to get as many devices to use it as possibly.
            Exclusive is the opposite of that.

          • So say Light Peak comes to Macs first. The few peripherals that are made for this 10% of the market, how much are they going to cost? Well, you can only sell to a few people and those people already showed a propensity to buy expensive computers. On top of this, the costs of an optical interface are high.

            So what do you think the companies will charge? They'll charge 3x what they do for anything else, just like with every other Mac-specific interface.

            And then other PC companies will have a choice, put on Lig

    • by mosb1000 (710161)

      Maybe a better word would be "first".

  • Oh, great idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by spyfrog (552673)

    Lightpeak "will reportedly be an Apple exclusive at first."
    Sounds like a very good idea - making an interface exclusive for a manufacture which makes less than 10% of the computers. That will off course make the third party appliance makers go wild and support this interface instead of USB3 which can be used with the other 90% of the computers... really a great idea.
    It will sure be funny for the Apple users to brag about their new Lightpeak connections when they have almost nothing to plug into them and all

    • by KarmaMB84 (743001)
      It just means nobody else is going to have Lightpeak devices at first. Apple is playing the early adopter here.
      • by spyfrog (552673)

        Which is a bad way to spread an new interface.
        You want an interface to become widespread and used by everyone - making it exclusive for Apple is counter productive even if it is only for a limited time.

        Remember the USB launch? USB didn't took off until PCs and Windows supported it - there was quite few USB devices made before when Apple was the only one delivering USB equipped computers and then it almost exploded when Windows 98 was launched with USB support. Now I am sure some Mac zealot is going to dig u

        • by sirsnork (530512)
          Unless I remember this wrong. Apple was the LAST manufacturer to include USB. They were using firewire only for a LONG LONG time. The reason USB support took so long to come about is because Windows 95 and 98 SUCKED in the driver department
    • by jamrock (863246) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:09PM (#34353820)

      Sounds like a very good idea - making an interface exclusive for a manufacture which makes less than 10% of the computers. That will off course make the third party appliance makers go wild and support this interface instead of USB3 which can be used with the other 90% of the computers... really a great idea.

      You're absolutely correct. Like when Apple stupidly introduced the iMac back in 1998 with no floppy drive and those bizarre little USB ports. Not to mention the colors and attention to design, which flew in the face of the beige-box standard. Considering that Macintosh only had market share of around 3%, peripheral manufacturers refused to waste time and resources supporting USB, and consumers ignored the iMac because floppy drives to this day remain a must-have for personal computers. The iMac failed dramatically as predicted by tech pundits, and it will be remembered as just another inane idea by Steve Jobs. So typical of Apple, to arrogantly believe that they can influence the tech industry with their pie-in-the-sky toys.

      Wait...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770)

        They didn't influence the industry with their force to USB. Sorry, I know that Mac users would like to think so but when you look at the history it is clear it made little to no difference. USB peripherals started launching almost right away because it was a good bus and Intel mandated it on all new motherboards. However support for older standards remained for a long time. USB keyboards and mice were the exception, not the rule, even after it had been around for awhile. Printers took a long time to stop ha

        • They didn't influence the industry with their force to USB. Sorry, I know that Mac users would like to think so but when you look at the history it is clear it made little to no difference.

          To say that Apple's move to USB made little or no difference is simply not true. The original iMac did in fact influence multiple industries in terms of industrial design, and in the tech industry by popularizing the new technology in the minds of consumers. Intel mandated it on all new motherboards, but they did not pr

        • by rolfwind (528248)

          They didn't influence the industry with their force to USB. Sorry, I know that Mac users would like to think so but when you look at the history it is clear it made little to no difference. USB peripherals started launching almost right away because it was a good bus and Intel mandated it on all new motherboards.

          http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/power/library/pa-spec7.html [ibm.com]

          The adoption problem

          USB, even after support for it was available in Windows, faced an adoption problem. Standard adoption is largely dri

  • by speculatrix (678524) on Friday November 26, 2010 @05:40PM (#34353124)
    linux and windows have TRIM [wikipedia.org], so when will OSX have it?
  • by hey (83763)

    LightPeak is reportedly nearly as fast as the LightPeek protocol which is currently use for transmitting "peeks" of cleavage in close proximity. Common applications include viewing plumber butt-crack and looking at the waitress's cleavage as she leans over the wipe the table.

  • The podcast is pure (and false) speculation -- it doesn't cite sources, and it's providing supposedly very definite details about something that won't show up for half a year. Having talked to Apple workers and knowing a bit of what goes on in the inside, even *Apple* doesn't know what the system will necessarily be like that far out. It has cancelled systems at the last minute or made part swaps weeks before launch because they either didn't work properly, cost too much or even for political reasons. Ap
  • From the article: "We’re not sure how we feel about removing the optical drive from the Pro machine, but that’s a debate for another time." I welcome it. I've never used the drive in my MacBook Pro. I used the drive in my old MacBook Pro once, and that was to upgrade to Snow Leopard. Shipping Lion on a USB stick would be awesome. A few people would whinge if they dropped the DVD drive but I guess if they had 2 models, one with and one without, they'd end up killing the one with the DVD driv
    • I took the optical drive out of my MacBook Pro, stuffed a 1 terabyte HD in it and haven't looked back. The kit came with a cheapo USB optical box which I've used exactly once to load Disk Warrior.

      Usually I just use another PC's optical drive and share it over the network. DVDs aren't dead yet but they're walking pretty darned slow these days.
    • I've used the drive in mine. Not frequently, but almost every time I did use it was not a time when I would have had an external drive easily accessible (e.g. travel) - not that I even have an external drive at all, now that I think about it. If I'm not going to use it frequently, I'm not going to bother bringing it with me if I travel - and then I'm stuck without it if I unexpectedly need it, which is what's happened to me in the past (didn't expect to need it - but finding blank discs is much easier than

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