Intel to roll out 'Light Peak' tech Thursday

Later this week, the chipmaker is expected to launch a new high-speed connection technology that it has been working on for years.

Intel on Thursday plans to roll out Light Peak, a high-speed connection technology that Apple is also likely to adopt, according to an industry source familiar with the details of the event.

Intel released a statement to the media today saying that on Thursday in San Francisco it will "host briefing to discuss a new technology that is about to appear on the market."

There will also be a media event held the same day at the Intel campus in Santa Clara, Calif., where the chipmaker will conduct technology and product demonstrations.

Maybe not coincidentally, Apple is expected to roll out new MacBook Pros--and possibly other products--on Thursday.

Intel has been working on Light Peak for years and recently said the initial version would be based on copper, as time-to-market realities necessitate more conventional technology. Light Peak is significantly faster than even USB 3.0, carrying data at 10 gigabits per second in both directions simultaneously. Connection speeds will not be affected by the transition to copper, according to Intel. In the future, Light Peak may scale to 100 gigabits per second, according to Intel.

As CNET reported earlier, the technology is expected to find its way into Apple products. When Intel initially demonstrated Light Peak at its developer conference in 2009 it used a machine running Apple's Mac OS X.

"Light Peak also has the ability to run multiple protocols simultaneously over a single cable, enabling the technology to connect devices such as peripherals, displays, disk drives, docking stations, and more," according to a statement on Intel's Light Peak Web page. "The multi-protocol capability...will enable new usage models like flexible system designs and thinner form factors, media creation and connectivity, faster media transfer and cable simplification."

For more details on Light Peak, see CNET interview with Jason Ziller, an Intel manager heading up Light Peak work at the chipmaker and Intel's overview of the technology.

Update: This technology is now called Thunderbolt. The codename had been Light Peak.

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