Light Peak, the next-gen, super-fast, magic-like data connection from Intel is rumored to end up in a Mac at some point in the future.
Apple has partnered with Intel on Light Peak, helping create a standard that will blow USB and FireWire out of the water in terms of flexibility and raw speed.
A new rumor out yesterday suggests that the long-awaited iPad 2 could be equipped with a Light Peak connector, bringing the new technology to the masses.
I just don’t see that happening.
Here are my thoughts:
- The 30-pin Dock Connector has become the standard for iPods and iOS devices. While I’m sure Apple will eventually go to something smaller, I’m not sure that the company is ready to mix things up yet. While Apple has no problem yanking around the third-party accessory universe that has sprung up over the years, this would be a massive shift. If Light Peak shows up, it will be beside a Dock Connector, not in place of it, I believe.
- Light Peak is new — it might not even be done yet. It makes sense that it will show up on machines like the Mac Pro or 27-inch iMac first, then trickle down to lower-level machines and devices. That’s how FireWire worked when it was rolled out, and it worked well. As prices come down, Apple can afford to put it in lower-priced products. With margins probably already thin on the iPad, I don’t see a new technology like Light Peak being feasible financially.
- If Apple does put a Light Peak connector on the iPad, what would customers be able to use it with? Unless a substantial number of Macs (see Item #2 on this list) end up with Light Peak connectors, most of them will go unused. PC users would be in even worse shape.
- Does Light Peak (built by Intel) play nicely with the ARM-based A4? While I’m sure it can be done, no one has shown any demos (that I can find) of cross-platform goodness going on.
- USB just makes more sense. If Apple is going to add anything to the iPad, I’d imagine it would be a USB port for access to something like a jump drive. Right now, the only physical storage media the iPad can interact with is an SD card, and that’s with an adaptor. Adding USB would make the device more accessible for many.
Whatever the mystery cutouts are on these rumored iPad 2 cases that have been floating around, I’m sure Apple has thought it out very carefully, and will continue to improve its tablet in a way that makes sense for the most number of users.
Bonus Material: Check out a demo video of Light Peak by Intel over on YouTube.