Apple ready to release new LightPeak connector technology

20 Feb 2011

While the rumour mill is in a tizzy over the suggestion of a new 7-inch iPad 3 or the unveiling of an iPhone Nano, a more immediate new revelation is likely to be a connector technology from Intel that Apple has been working on for years that is faster than USB 3.0.

Code-named LightPeak, the new technology has been touted by Intel as the ‘Holy Grail’ of connector technologies. It is expected to be released on the next update to the MacBook Pro family.

It will initially be based on copper, and is aimed at replacing the myriad of cables that connect monitors, external drives, scanners and printers.

Fibre-optic technology is expected to follow in subsequent releases. The technology was first demonstrated at an Intel developer conference in 2009 on a computer running Mac OS X.

According to a report on CNET, the new connector technology is expected to debut on the upcoming update to the MacBook Pro.

The technology is believed to be faster than USB 3.0 and other manufacturers, including Sony, are planning to release computers sporting the new connector technology.

iPad 3 with Retina display

Meanwhile, the latest rumours on the device that will be revealed by Apple in the autumn, the iPad 3, suggests Apple is indeed working on a tablet device that will sit somewhere between being a larger iPod touch or a smaller iPad.

According to AppleInsider, quoting analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of Concord Securities, the ‘tweener’ tablet, a successive iPad 3 model, would incorporate a 9.7-inch IPS panel with FFS (fringe-field switching) technology, which enables a wider viewing angle and clearer visual quality under sunlight.

Kuo claims the iPad 3 device will come with a Retina display capable of resolution doubling to 2,048 x 1,536.

Because of costs and time to manufacture, upcoming iPad 2 models will instead use a thinner panel with anti-reflection coating to work better in bright sunlight.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years