The new MacBook Pro lineup announced last week by Apple was mostly routine – Faster processors, improved graphics, and a better camera. The big exception was Thunderbolt (formerly code named Light Peak), a new port that promises super fast connections for both video and high-speed peripherals. Between HD video, large data files, and the sheer quantity of files that users have accumulated, a new, faster and simpler connection technology is both warranted and welcome.
As Thunderbolt comes into common use, another benefit will become apparent. Everyone hates dealing with cables, whether it is connecting and disconnecting from your laptop or just dealing with the great mystery of how cables mange to tangle themselves when nobody is looking. Thunderbolt gives us a small, thin cable that will be capable of working with any number of devices. Between wireless technologies and now Thunderbolt, the days of “do I have the cable I need” or “which cable do I need” may soon be over.
Intel developed thunderbolt in conjunction with Apple, just as the two companies had collaborated on the miniaturized Core 2 Duo chips used in the first MacBook Air. That arrangement provided Apple with a head start, allowing them to tailor hardware and the OS to the new chips. Again with Thunderbolt, Apple is out ahead of other PC manufacturers, who will need time to incorporate the new technology on their logic boards. While at first glance a big plus for Apple, it could temporarily slow the rate of adoption and quantity of peripherals available for the technology. Given all the advantages that Thunderbolt provides, and the additional advantages once it moves to optical cabling, the future certainly looks bright.
[ Macworld ]