Intel’s Light Peak could be why Apple’s not using USB 3.0

Earlier this week, we reported that Steve Jobs, in response to an email about why there was no USB 3.0 support in Macs yet, replied that “We don’t see USB 3 taking off at this time. No support from Intel, for example.” Curious then, that industry sources this week pegged the release of Light Peak, the new optical cable technology developed by Intel, as sometime in the first half of 2011, earlier rather than later.

Light Peak will offer extremely high speed data transfers using optical cable, with initial speeds of 10 Gb/s and the possibility to scale to 100 Gb/s. In contrast, USB 3.0 can achieve speeds of only 3.2 Gb/s. A refinement of optical cable technology, similar to that found in digital audio connections, Light Peak allows for smaller connectors and longer, thinner cables. Fast interconnectivity between devices is critical for devices that have a lot of data to transfer, such as video cameras and DSLRs, and its small form factor means it could even be used in future mobile devices.

Apple is not afraid to take chances, particularly when it comes to I/O. Apple was the first to drop the floppy disk in its original iMac. It created the Apple Display Connector, carrying both video signal and power to the display, and later the Mini Display Port. It was a champion of FireWire 400 and 800, including those technologies in their laptops when no one else was. Apple is also willing to wait things out, and given that something that will leapfrog USB 3.0 is just around the corner, there’s no reason for Apple to jump in now at this stage of the game.

The specification for USB 3.0 has been available since 2008, and most likely at that time, Apple felt that FireWire 800 would serve their needs until the next big thing came along. Now with Light Peak at their doorstep, Apple is well positioned to leap frog the competition yet again.

Article Via AppleInsider

Eugene Huo is a Juno Award winning recording engineer, video editor, photographer, and all around Mac geek. His first Mac experience was with the Macintosh Plus. You never forget your first. You can follow him on twitter @gamerparent, and check… Full Bio