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Apple Behind Intel's USB Competitor?

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the hopefully-they'll-come-up-with-a-less-goofy-name dept.

Networking 332

We recently discussed Light Peak, Intel's upcoming, optical interconnect technology that boasts data transfer rates of up to 10 Gbps. While some have speculated that Light Peak will directly compete with USB 3.0, Engadget has now unearthed information that indicates the idea for the technology originated from Apple, who apparently asked Intel to develop it. "According to documents we've seen and conversations we've had, Apple had reached out to Intel as early as 2007 with plans for an interoperable standard which could handle massive amounts of data and 'replace the multitudinous connector types with a single connector (FireWire, USB, Display interface).' ... Based on what we've learned, Apple will introduce the new standard for its systems around Fall 2010 in a line of Macs destined for back-to-school shoppers — a follow-up to the 'Spotlight turns to notebooks' event, perhaps. Following the initial launch, there are plans to roll out a low-power variation in 2011, which could lead to more widespread adoption in handhelds and cellphones. The plans from October 2007 show a roadmap that includes Light Peak being introduced to the iPhone / iPod platform to serve as a gateway for multimedia and networking outputs."

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Transfer faster! (2, Funny)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556263)

I can move my special video (porn) collection in 3 second!!!!

Re:Transfer faster! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29556535)

Maybe you need to expand the collection. Even at 10Gbps, it would take me all day to transfer MY porn.

Apple's Legacy (2, Funny)

j00bhaka (916701) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556279)

Will the component be shiny and white also?

Put it on iPods (4, Funny)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556287)

Put it on iPods and it becomes ubiquitous almost immediately. They could charge extra for a usb cable or dock.

Re:Put it on iPods (2, Funny)

tinkertim (918832) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556357)

Put it on iPods and it becomes ubiquitous almost immediately. They could charge extra for a usb cable or dock.

Well, looking at the diagram, dongles to connect USB and other types would be the means to do that. Personally, if it works as well as they say that it works, I'd be opting for gadgets and devices that just support it natively.

Re:Put it on iPods (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556429)

Put it on iPods and it becomes ubiquitous almost immediately. They could charge extra for a usb cable or dock.

I'm not sure it's going to be terribly efficient to charge said iPods though. Maybe Apple is going to add a power socket.

Re:Put it on iPods (3, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556505)

The iPod already uses a special connector. You could just make an integrated cable with power and an optical data link, the same way USB and Firewire now use a cable with data and power links.

Actually, they'd be nuts not to just spec the cable to have power anyway. It's not going to be nearly as popular if suddenly everyone has to start carrying around wall warts for their external drives.

Re:Put it on iPods (1, Redundant)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#29557263)

They (Apple) could charge extra for a usb cable or dock.

Goes without saying.

Compete with who? (4, Funny)

poptones (653660) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556301)

So you're saying Apple is behind this new technology coming from intel at their behest but it's all part of a scheme to devise a new technology that will get intel to compete with... intel?

Man, you must REALLY think Steve Jobs is clever! Imagine, getting intel to go into competition with itself!

Re:Compete with who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29556483)

Who knows, maybe they will self-annihilate.

Re:Compete with who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29556867)

Same here! If I hadn't read it on slashdot I would not believe it.

Re:Compete with who? (2, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#29557285)

Don't you know Apple is behind every new technology ever conceived?

If something new comes out and sounds promising, you can bet we'll see a story, either here or in Conde Nast's "Wired", that "Apple is really behind it".

They are the Chuck Norris of technology companies.

Re:Compete with who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29556923)

You're right it's not clear if in "Apple Behind Intel's USB Competitor", "competitor" refers to a product or a company.

English needs two types of "'s" to distinguish whether in "John's X", X really belongs to John (X=hammer) or doesn't (X=sister).

Re:Compete with who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29557513)

"English needs two types of "'s" to distinguish whether in "John's X", X really belongs to John (X=hammer) or doesn't (X=sister)."

That wouldn't work in West Virginia...

No power transfer.. (4, Interesting)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556341)

USB now a days is often used to charge devices too, which is not possible with these optical interfaces. Because of this, I don't think this will have much future for portable devices, so nice try, but I'm not buying it.

Re:No power transfer.. (5, Informative)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556405)

They will have a hybrid copper/optical [cnet.com] wire to power devices : "In addition, Intel said it's working on bundling the optical fiber with copper wire so Light Peak can be used to power devices plugged into the PC, he said."

Re:No power transfer.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29556611)

Very true. Data and power is almost always transmitted separately through the cable nowadays. USB has two wires for data and two for power. I should also point out that if your data wires are fiber optic you don't have to worry about your power wires interfering with them, so the cables can be longer. Or just

Re:No power transfer.. (3, Interesting)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 4 years ago | (#29557043)

There was a plan with USB3 to include optical and electrical transfer in the same connector. I think it's been dropped, I expect that this program really become USB4 or an extension of USB3.

Re:No power transfer.. (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556529)

In practice this is correct. OTOH, add an photocell and one could, at least in principle, power a device. Of course as others have mentioned running a wire as well as the fiber optic solves this problem.

Re:No power transfer.. (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556587)

30% (current maximum light efficiency) * 40% (current maximum solar efficiency) = 12% efficiency for light based energy transmission. Not that good compared to wires.

Re:No power transfer.. (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556705)

for your comment, can I please get an explanation as to why we lose from both the light efficiency and then solar (heat I assume)? also what are you suggesting wire efficiency is, as IIRC from the basic stuff I've read here and there wire efficiency goes down over distance. just curious.

Re:No power transfer.. (1)

RalphSleigh (899929) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556823)

The 30 and 12 percent are for converting from electricity to light and then back again....

Re:No power transfer.. (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#29557201)

X units of electricity go into light source. 0.30X units leave as light (70% converted into heat). 0.30X units enter solar cell. 0.40 * 0.30X (0.12X total) units of energy leave the cell as electricity, the rest being lost as heat.

Re:No power transfer.. (2, Interesting)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556849)

30% (current maximum light efficiency) * 40% (current maximum solar efficiency) = 12% efficiency for light based energy transmission.

Actually, photovoltaic cells are more efficient when illuminated by monochromatic light than they are when illuminated by sunlight (narrower spectral spread means you can pick a semiconductor to hit the peak efficiency). You can easily get 50-60 percent conversion of laser light.

Re:No power transfer.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29556891)

That depends on the application. You get complete galvanic separation, thinner cables and no dodgy contacts (no corrosion). The downside is the somewhat low efficiency (though low voltages over thin copper wires aren't exactly shining in that respect either), low maximum power and rather complicated transducers.

Re:No power transfer.. (3, Interesting)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#29557533)

You get complete galvanic separation, thinner cables and no dodgy contacts

Good points. The one very nice thing about optical power transmission--assuming it could be made practical in a consumer product--would be total electrical isolation between devices. No more ground loops.

Re:No power transfer.. (5, Insightful)

dintlu (1171159) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556663)

I think the idea is to have a homogeneous connective form factor for all data connections on the computer, so that all cables are interchangeable. As far as I know, the bandwidth of an optical transmission isn't limited by the transmitting medium itself, but by the interpretative hardware on either end, which is improving as defined by Moore's law. So you set a standard for the cable and connector now and create interchangeable cables that are not device-specific, which results in all changes to the technology occuring completely on the backend, out of sight to the user.

If this is, indeed, the goal of LightPeak, i *really* hope that they learned a lesson from USB, and make a connector that can be plugged in using tactile feedback, rather than requiring the user guess-and-rotate as is the case today.

Re:No power transfer.. (2, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556987)

USB now a days is often used to charge devices too, which is not possible with these optical interfaces.

Here's an optical interface that can transfer lots of power: C02 laser [wikipedia.org] . You wouldn't want to feel around the back of a computer with one of these behind one of the interface connectors, though.

They tried to get Xerox to do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29556343)

Then they were going to take a tour and see how well they succeeded.

Glass fibre (0)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556351)

Given people wrap normal metal cables up too tight and break them I suspect glass ones will last a fraction of the time.

Fibre is great, but it's use is probably intended for high end interconnects in pro video and audio kit.

Re:Glass fibre (2, Interesting)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556443)

They claim it's pretty durable [cnet.com] , of course the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. "The cables themselves are durable, Ziller said: "You can tie a knot in it and it'll still work.""

Re:Glass fibre (2, Interesting)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#29557067)

Tie a knot in an optical cable? Colour me skeptical. I am unaware of any optical material with a decent transmissive efficiency that has that kind of flexibility. Perhaps a polymer of some kind, but it will not be able to take that repeatedly, as the optical transmissiveness is dependent upon the material being fairly structurally dense, which rules out extreme flexibility in all of the polymers that I know of.

IMHO optic fibre has no place in consumer gear. The cable lengths do not necessitate them for high speed transmission, the cost of end devices will always be higher than for wire-devices due to the need to modulate to optical signals and back again, and the possibility of getting dust or dirt into the socket or otherwise abusing the equipment is far higher under consumer product conditions.

Re:Glass fibre (1)

spectre_240sx (720999) | more than 4 years ago | (#29557295)

As speeds go up, the amount of power needed to push information over copper at those speeds goes up as well. If I recall correctly, they've had some issues with 10 gig Ethernet over copper for just that reason. Eventually we're going to need to move to optical interconnects.

Re:Glass fibre (1)

mr_lizard13 (882373) | more than 4 years ago | (#29557255)

"You can tie a knot in it and it'll still work.""

That should make it easier to market to Scouts.

Replace? (4, Insightful)

Throtex (708974) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556363)

"replace the multitudinous connector types with a single connector" = multitudinous connector types + 1;

Re:Replace? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29556659)

"replace the multitudinous connector types with a single connector" = multitudinous connector types + 1;

Except this isn't just trying to be USB 4.0, it's ambitious enough to replace high bandwidth interfaces like DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort. (Maybe Ethernet, too, but I think that'd be a bit too much of an uphill slog to pull off.)

Now, whether or not that actually happens is an open question, but can you imagine how cool it'd be to have a bunch of identical ports on your laptop, which you're free to plug your monitor, mouse, or video camera into?

Re:Replace? (1)

GrievousMistake (880829) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556699)

From their diagram, which admittedly could be made up of equal parts ignorance and guesswork, it looks like they're envisioning it used as a universal breakout cable.

Re:Replace? (1)

mlscdi (1046868) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556721)

The annoying thing is, you're completely right. It's happened time and time again...audio codecs,,,video codecs...memory cards...

Re:Replace? (1)

Jeeeb (1141117) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556731)

My laptop doesn't have a serial or parallel connector on it. Sure It'll take time but eventually there is no reason this couldn't succeed in complete replacing current connectors. It won't however if we just whinge about extra connectors and refuse to do anything.

ignore the crap about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29556395)

Ignore the idiotic crap from Engadget about it being demoed on a Hackintosh. When two companies that are well known to be working together on new technologies, well, work together on new technologies, then it shouldn't come as a surprise that they're working together on new technologies. Instead, Engadget turns it into "OMG, they're breaking their EULA!!1!" I think that alone says a whole lot about the mindset of the Engadget writers and editors.

Maybe it'll meet its claimed speed (2, Interesting)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556407)

Maybe, like FireWire, it'll deliver better on its claimed speed, and 10 Gbps will actually be 10 Gbps.

Re:Maybe it'll meet its claimed speed (1)

unfunk (804468) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556963)

Maybe, like Apple's previous poster child Firewire, it will be freaking awesome but have absolutely no uptake in the consumer market, leading its own champions to drop support for it (see 5G iPod, recent Macbooks)

Re:Maybe it'll meet its claimed speed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29557383)

Maybe, like Apple's previous poster child Firewire, it will be freaking awesome but have absolutely no uptake in the consumer market, leading its own champions to drop support for it (see 5G iPod, recent Macbooks)

I don't get it; what's the downside?

Re:Maybe it'll meet its claimed speed (2, Informative)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#29557501)

see 5G iPod,
Granted

recent Macbooks
The air never had firewire, probablly because it always designed as a cut down ultraslim machine.

The basic polycarbonate macbook has always had firewire 400.

All apples other current machines have firewire 800 (which is compatible with 400 with a wiring adaptor)

The 13 inch unibody didn't initially have firewire which many people at the time thought was a sign of apple dropping it. However either the pundits were wrong or apple decided the backlash was too much because soon afterwards the 13 inch unibody was redesignated as a macbook pro and had firewire 800 added.

How do you power? What's the real use? (0)

qw0ntum (831414) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556445)

Optical is great, but it can't deliver power, so I don't see this being used for peripherals (that'll be the role, I'm sure, of USB 3.0). Also, a 10Gb optical link seems a bit excessive to begin with for devices like keyboards and the like, so I couldn't imagine this standard even being used to replace the internal USB buses that are used in most laptops today.

What does that leave? As the article mentions, multimedia in/out and networking, presumably. Can you think of anything else? The obstacle I see with networking is that the world connects with RJ45, so for wired networking you'd still need an adapter.

So, that leaves multimedia. What I really see this being used for is a way to connect audio and video devices in a kind of "multimedia LAN". It seems very much in Apple's interest to develop a standard that would allow you to plug one cable into your device and then access your media from wherever. Consider addressing your desktop monitor and speakers as network devices, as well as your living room TV and speakers in other locations in your home. Baseless speculation? Mostly. But as of now, I'm not sure if there's any way to connect your iPhone to your TV and pump music through your speakers elsewhere, unless of course you're using Apple's wireless access point with a speaker jack, or perhaps the Apple TV.

Why on earth going propietary? Oh, it's Apple... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29556447)

Why apple wouldn't choose to use 10 Gigabit Ethernet instead? Is this some sort of NIH and vendor lock in mania from Steve once again? "Consumer adaptation" (cheaply fabricable lasers, home use friendly connectors) might be sort of necessary, but I can't see what's the part that specially mandates reinventing a wheel when the rest of the industry is betting on development of Ethernet to higher and higher speeds, on many kinds of media.

BTW, what I'm really waiting for is replacement of display cables by 10GE/Ethernet framing/IP. I guess I have to wait until component prices drop to range of ten euros per device, but anyway... I really can't understand why there isn't more push to that direction. If Apple expects to install something that can't be so different from 10GE on devices in couple years...

Re:Why on earth going propietary? Oh, it's Apple.. (0)

dstates (629350) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556539)

Better question - why do I have to buy a $40 HDMI cable to connect my HDTV when a $1 Ethernet patch cable would do just fine?

Re:Why on earth going propietary? Oh, it's Apple.. (2, Informative)

lagfest (959022) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556597)

Because you are being scammed, $10 is more realistic.

Re:Why on earth going propietary? Oh, it's Apple.. (4, Insightful)

ZackSchil (560462) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556707)

You don't have to buy a $40 HDMI cable. If the cables you buy are that expensive, then you're just getting fleeced. Do the barest amount of research before you purchase.

Also, the cheap HDMI cables are more expensive than "ethernet patch cables" because of licensing, a more expensive connector, more wires, and more stringent requirements on the quality of materials. The cable costs more than a dollar because it's the equivalent of several CAT-6a cables. It's designed to transmit raw video data at 1920x1080p30. That's roughly 1.4Gbps. The standard even defines faster rates. You'd need 2-3 CAT6a cables to transfer video at that rate and still cover everything else HDMI takes care of.

Re:Why on earth going propietary? Oh, it's Apple.. (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556735)

even better, why did hdmi have 'many wires' when really just 2 opto (even toslink!) cables would have worked.

one for the send and one for the return path. that's it. no ground loops, no cable quality issues, no switch complexity (with parallel wires that have to be *exact length* on the pc board traces).

duh!

I have stopped expecting quality connector and cable standards from computer makers and the industry. sata is a nightmare, sata power is no better than 4pin old style molex drive power, hdmi is a nightmare in its connector and bulk of the cable (it pulls out if you look at it the wrong way).

the last good connector was a db9 style. works, stays put, well keyed, cheap to make and easy to build with. say any of that for any of the modern connector/wire types (you can't).

Re:Why on earth going propietary? Oh, it's Apple.. (2, Informative)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 4 years ago | (#29557305)

I have never known why industry standards such as HD-SDI have never made it to the consumer market. Single coax cable terminated with BNCs that can deliver 4k (four times the resolution of 1080p) or higher with 16 channels of audio, all uncompressed, at a length of over 100m.

Re:Why on earth going propietary? Oh, it's Apple.. (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556749)

maybe you might want to shop monoprice [monoprice.com] ? (direct link to HDMI). $6 for a 3 foot HDMI cable sounds decent to me. They want like $20-30 for a 25 foot cable, which is also decent.

Their CAT6 prices are super cheap too. $9 for like 50 foot of cable.

Re:Why on earth going propietary? Oh, it's Apple.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29556821)

I recently purchased a 25' HDMI cable for about $10. It works flawlessly. You can get packs of 3 6' HDMI cables for around $8, if you know where to look and hit a sale (I've seen that price a couple times in the past 2 months).

Re:Why on earth going propietary? Oh, it's Apple.. (2, Informative)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556621)

Why apple wouldn't choose to use 10 Gigabit Ethernet instead?..

Partly because the first iteration will be 10 Gigabit but the next generation will be 100 Gigabit.

Re:Why on earth going propietary? Oh, it's Apple.. (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556649)

Can you run a display off 10Gigabyte ethernet? If you had a choice of running video over DVI or ethernet, which would you choose?

Re:Why on earth going propietary? Oh, it's Apple.. (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556887)

re: Why apple wouldn't choose to use 10 Gigabit Ethernet instead?

Because, as mentioned in another thread the other day, the reason a lot of devices don't have gigabit or 10gigabit connections is that those interfaces take 6 watts rather than the 1 watt or less for 100mbit or 10mbit. Optical is a good choice for the faster speeds because it will require less power than a high-bandwidth copper connection.

What do we need USB 3 for, anyway? (1)

yk4ever (1110821) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556461)

Ehm... Am I the only one who is _completely satisfied_ with USB 2.0 performance? What is there to improve? What kinds of devices are gonna use it?

Re:What do we need USB 3 for, anyway? (1)

kamochan (883582) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556547)

Reasonably fast hard disks (or SSD)? DV cameras? Displays?

The point, I believe, is to replace eSATA + FireWire + DisplayPort/HDMI et al, all in one stroke.

I don't think USB<3 will be going anywhere for years, it's too ubiquituous and cheap for low-end gadgets... but USB3? Dead horse.

Re:What do we need USB 3 for, anyway? (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556551)

You probably already have a eSATA port.

Re:What do we need USB 3 for, anyway? (5, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556563)

Yes.

Transferring a 100 MB app to my iPhone takes a noticeable amount of time, for example. A movie is worse. And things will get MUCH worse in the future, when we have higher resolution portable devices.

And what Apple wants to do with this interconnect is to replace things like DVI/Display Port, Firewire/USB, (e)SATA, etc., all on one bus.

Re:What do we need USB 3 for, anyway? (2, Informative)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556625)

Transferring a 100 MB app to my iPhone takes a noticeable amount of time, for example.

That's not USB 2.0's fault. The bottleneck is almost certainly the slow/cheap flash memory in the iPhone. Fast flash is expensive.

Re:What do we need USB 3 for, anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29556835)

That's not USB 2's fault. The bottleneck is almost certainly the slow/cheap flash memory in the iPhone. Fast flash is expensive.

No, the problem is with USB 2's ridiculous overhead requirements. With Firewire or eSATA or other well-designed fast connector types, I can finish transferring a whole ton of tiny files long before the USB-connected drive has even finished counting up the number of files it'll need to transfer (that's not including the actual transfer of those small files). For larger files, it fares better, but USB 2 seriously chokes on small files.

Re:What do we need USB 3 for, anyway? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556871)

I have some decent compact flash cards (30 MB/s), and transferring data from the camera they are in takes a nice long time over USB2 (but it could be the camera or my laptop, I don't know or have much interest in figuring it out).

Re:What do we need USB 3 for, anyway? (4, Insightful)

dhovis (303725) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556809)

And what Apple wants to do with this interconnect is to replace things like DVI/Display Port, Firewire/USB, (e)SATA, etc., all on one bus.

I think this is probably what Apple is after. As I look at my Macbook Pro, I have the following connectors: MagSave (power), Ethernet, FW800, miniDP, USBx2, SD card, line-in, and headphones. You could probably get rid of Ethernet, FW, miniDP, and USB and replace them with Light Peak. Since I'm rarely using more than two of those at a time, you could probably reduce the number of ports and start shrinking devices.

The other thing that Apple seems to be targeting is the optical drive. I think you're going to see Apple dropping optical altogether, and moving OS delivery to SD cards. Most other software/media will be downloads.

Re:What do we need USB 3 for, anyway? (1)

dbet (1607261) | more than 4 years ago | (#29557121)

The other thing that Apple seems to be targeting is the optical drive. I think you're going to see Apple dropping optical altogether, and moving OS delivery to SD cards. Most other software/media will be downloads.

Interesting and I think you're right, especially when you can already boot OSX from a flash drive and one the size of a DVD (8 GB) can probably be purchased in mass for a buck a piece.

I also think optical is somewhat outliving its usefulness for storage or backup. HD and flash space has gotten larger and cheaper, much faster.

Re:What do we need USB 3 for, anyway? (4, Interesting)

level_headed_midwest (888889) | more than 4 years ago | (#29557365)

Optical may have outlived its usefulness for storage and backup, but it hasn't outlived its usefulness as a distribution medium. It is a lot cheaper for a software vendor to ship out their software on ~10-cent DVDs rather than ~$5 SD cards or USB drives. Entertainment firms especially like optical disks because in addition to being cheaper, they are also more fragile and harder to use with computers rather than locked-down, purpose-built, stand-alone players. Computers can better do unwanted things like skip the mandatory 30 minutes of previews, transfer the files to another medium, or strip out DRM altogether, so the entertainment firms want to discourage the playback of their files on computers as much as possible. The obvious distribution method of using the Internet is even more unappealing to software and entertainment distributors as they think it makes piracy easier and makes their ridiculous pricing schemes based on "scarcity" look that much more ridiculous.

So while putting things on optical media may be pretty much useless for customers, suppliers love it and that's why we won't see optical media die for a good, long time.

Re:What do we need USB 3 for, anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29557421)

And what Apple wants to do with this interconnect is to replace things like DVI/Display Port, Firewire/USB, (e)SATA, etc., all on one bus.

What, you mean like some kind of universal serial bus? That's crazy talk!

Re:What do we need USB 3 for, anyway? (1)

neuroklinik (452842) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556575)

Yes. You probably are the only person "completely satisfied" with USB 2.0 performance.

Re:What do we need USB 3 for, anyway? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29556577)

Do you only use it for your mouse and keyboard? If that's the case, then you'll probably be satisfied.

Now, back in the real world, it becomes the bottleneck for even low-end, high-capacity storage devices built around traditional spinning media. With us now moving towards solid-state storage, USB 2.0 fails us horribly. We can only manage 30% to 35% read/write capacity utilization under real-world conditions.

The same goes for connecting high-end visual displays via USB. Once you get above a resolution of 2000 pixels in either direction, USB 2.0 just can't handle it.

USBNET2, basically IP networking over USB 2.0, never took off because it's just too damn slow.

There are many applications where we need much, much faster transfer rates than USB 2.0 can support.

Re:What do we need USB 3 for, anyway? (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556661)

It doesn't hurt. It's still forward and backward compatible.

You can use a USB3 device on a USB1.1 hub and any other USBX combination.

One problem I know of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29556685)

1) Maximum power output of ~2 watts, 5 something watts in the 3.0 spec.

Some others would be CPU utilization, which is not a big deal these days but I think it would be important if you started using anything with significantly high throughput, like say a USB SSD?

I heard it was also more difficult to program with compared to serial/parallel ports.

I really hate the power limitation though. It's pathetic compared to firewire.

Re:What do we need USB 3 for, anyway? (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#29557031)

USB2 is pretty lousy for hard drives. Firewire 400 is much faster, despite having a nominally slower bit rate. SATA and SAS are faster still, as is Gigabit ethernet.

You can get USB 2 to SVGA adapters. I haven't tried one, but I don't imagine it is very good.

Re:What do we need USB 3 for, anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29557211)

Depends what you need it for.

I had a laptop that had dual monitor capabilities through a docking station and I still wanted a couple more monitors for things that I wanted full screen all the time for quick glance monitoring. ( Think bug tracking, build monitoring and email applications. )

I plugged in a couple USB to VGA devices and everything worked just fine.

Re:What do we need USB 3 for, anyway? (1)

spectre_240sx (720999) | more than 4 years ago | (#29557389)

We use the IOGear USB->VGA and USB->DVI adapters where I work and they're pretty impressive. As long as you're not trying to push video to a 30" cinema display I think they're a good solution.

*cough* tablet *cough* (1)

shawnce (146129) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556543)

It would be perfect to have a small simple and single connection between a laptop, enhanced iPhone/iPod, or *cough* tablet *cough* and an external display (power would be the only other connection needed, unless the proposed connector contains power pins). The display would contain ports for hardwire networks, USB, firewire, speakers, "web" camera, microphone, eSATA, etc. (much like Apple's and others current display products).

This would be Apple's answer to docking stations that often have rather large fixed connector(s) in slots on the bottom side of a laptop. Having a USB like connector gives you more use case coverage then the docking connector solutions currently and could be used by many more form factors other then just laptops.

I am fairly sure this is Apple's main goal with a secondary goal being the following...

As time passed USB, firewire, etc. - assuming adoption - could be replaced by this technology so you would get displays/hubs for this technology... all working with a single connector/cable type (likely will need mini variants). Storage devices, video cameras, video devices, audio devices, and sync targets like MP3 players, etc. would be perfect candidates to switch to this (assuming power and cost budgets make sense).

By using an optical connector you can get longer distances and higher-data rates. Also many more options to improve throughput, etc. as optical transceiver/coding technologies improve without having to create new connector types.

If the communication technology used inherits and expands on FireWire... a single connector could mux several independent streams of data, including timing sensitive streams with low CPU overhead (later obviously would be needed at the data rates being talked about).

I hope it fixes some of the problems with USB (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556549)

... such as the long settling time when a new device is plugged in, and the loss of continuity when a device is unplugged and quickly plugged back in. Another pet issue is that there should be a means to address a device specifically by which port it is plugged into, as well as by the device's unique ID regardless of which port it is plugged in to.

BTW, they could have included a USB path via the DVI/HDMI cable connection, so USB devices could be plugged directly into the monitor. I do worry that even Light Peak's high bandwidth can be dragged down over the display monitor path, slowing access to devices plugged in that way. We'll see, as those devices get faster and faster, and monitors get larger and larger.

Re:I hope it fixes some of the problems with USB (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556745)

Those are software problems, not hardware.

Re:I hope it fixes some of the problems with USB (2, Insightful)

kimvette (919543) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556935)

such as the long settling time when a new device is plugged in,

That seems to be a Windows-only issue. Both OS X and Linux enumerate USB devices almost immediately.

and the loss of continuity when a device is unplugged and quickly plugged back in.

IMHO this is a feature, not a defect; if a device freezes, unplugging it and plugging it back in will often clear up problems.

Another pet issue is that there should be a means to address a device specifically by which port it is plugged into, as well as by the device's unique ID regardless of which port it is plugged in to.

This used to be a major problem on Windows - i.e., in the early days of USB (be it XP, Win2K, or WinMe or 98SE) plugging a device (such as a printer) into a different port would force it to be redetected, search for and install a driver, etc. then you'd end up with multiple devices installed. It was downright brain-dead in how it handled USB, whereas on Mac OS and OS X It Just Worked(TM), and when Linux gained USB functionality, there It Just Worked(TM).

I'd rather the device be addressed by the device's unique identifier, not by port. Which port a USB device is plugged into should be transparent.

Re:I hope it fixes some of the problems with USB (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556945)

there is a way at least on linux to do both addressing types you wanted. look up HAL phys, and vendor/model ID addressing. The phys ports are not numbered 1,2,3,4,N but it does work. I had a mouse with a special symbol in it's vendor/model ID so i had to use phys port addressing. The only way something like this will beat USB3 is if it provides power over the connection as well. As for using it for everything, does that mean i'll be able to plug my mouse into my video card, and my monitor into my motherboard and not notice at all? It would be great to have one universal connector so i could then just tell grandma "yea, go ahead and just plug it in only one way to plug it in. should then just pop up/work/etc" As far as using it for displays, does that mean my video card will need to be able to address 254 displays at the same time?

Generally nonelucidative... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29556605)

Gee, Intel, thanks for the complete lack of information on your page. Licencing costs? Connector shape? Power? Protocol overhead?
Though I'll admit, the cheap laser effect and helpful conversion from x bits transfered per second to height of x stacked dollar bills in miles does add a lot of class.
Could we wait with announcing new protocols until there's actual technical information on them to be had?

They should make a corresponding metallic (2, Interesting)

Skapare (16644) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556617)

... cable system, too. It would be passively translated, using exactly the same bit level protocols, etc. It would be slower in most cases, of course. This would be so that metallic connection needs can be seamlessly integrated into the same bus architecture (which I hope fixes the mess they made of USB).

Re:They should make a corresponding metallic (2, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#29557429)

You do realise that the *point* of this is that there is one cable, one connector, and one standard. You can plug anything into anything, and it works. Adding a second cable standard would completely defeat the point. Why by the way might you have "mettalic connection needs" btw?

Purpose (1)

SilverHatHacker (1381259) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556739)

an interoperable standard which could handle massive amounts of data and 'replace the multitudinous connector types with a single connector

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that what USB is supposed to be?

Re:Purpose (4, Informative)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 4 years ago | (#29557343)

You're wrong. USB is and was for hooking up peripherals like keyboard/mice/printers/low-bandwidth devices to effectively replace the old RS-232 serial and parallel ports of yore. USB was never intended to replace the interface that goes to your monitor, your hard drives*, and your ethernet.

* Yes, we're all aware of USB storage, but see all the comments above about how even low-end devices today can swamp USB... if USB was so great for this then eSATA never would have come into existence.

This new standard appears to be point-to-point and with all the knowledge we have now it will hopefully be efficient. Additionally, 10Gbps is the starter speed... Intel was talking about scaling it to 100Gbps without too much difficulty.

MagSafe? (2, Insightful)

dara (119068) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556747)

Even with the criticisms (e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MagSafe [wikipedia.org] ), one thing I've been impressed with Apple on (and there aren't that many) is the MagSafe connector. I've had way too many problems with other connectors wearing out and not working, and occasionally, the the yanking unintentionally almost causing havoc problem.

I'd love to see the next generation data connections (with power transfer) be magnetic. To solve the short problem, the power transfer could be inductive, and the optical connection isn't going to short. I'd be happy to have every single damn cable I ever have to use in the future be some variation of MagSafe.

Dara

How much is Apple patented? (3, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556757)

IEEE1394 or FireWire or iLink had issues with IP if I recall correctly and it was more than just the name it was known by I think. Will this new thing be even more heavily encumbered by patents? I really with manufacturers would grow a pair and stand up against these emerging "standards" in favor of standards that everyone can use. This is especially true of those that utilize encryption and DRM schemes to control how the technologies are implemented. ("Oh sure! You can use our patented technology for free, but you have to sign here, here and here and remember, you can only use it in ways that we tell you. If you use it to exercise 'Fair Use' rights, then we will yank your license and sue you into the ground.")

Re:How much is Apple patented? (5, Insightful)

putaro (235078) | more than 4 years ago | (#29557057)

We'll have to see if Apple has learned anything. I first heard about FireWire in maybe 1993. I went to work at Apple in 1995 and met with the people developing FireWire and there was lots of talk about having devices natively support it, yada yada. It didn't make it into shipping Apple hardware until 1999. Besides being late to market, Apple insisted on charging licensing fees to everyone who incorporated FireWire.

Had FireWire been out in 1996, they might have been able to get away with the licensing fees. Had they forgone the licensing fees in 1999 they might have kept USB a low-speed interconnect.

In order to succeed in today's market it will need to offer technical advantages over USB 3.0 and not come with a price premium. Having Intel introduce is a pretty strong first step. We'll have to see how the rest of it plays out.

Re:How much is Apple patented? (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#29557065)

You can use our patented technology for free, but... If you use it to exercise 'Fair Use' rights

Fair Use is a defense to copyright infringement, not patent infringement. There's no way to claim "I used your patented technology without a license, but I only used it for educational purposes, or in a news reporting circumstance, or I only used it for 30 seconds."

Re:How much is Apple patented? (1)

sixsixtysix (1110135) | more than 4 years ago | (#29557511)

i think he meant that the companies will put artificial restrictions on the technology so you can't use it however you want (i.e. fair use) even though the technology is more than capable of doing said task.

Re: Apple Behind Intel's USB Competitor (1)

msutchmk2 (1644577) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556775)

so Intel is competing with itself? haha, that's interesting. If the Light Peak would really increase the speed and improve other functions, I would like to give it a try when it's introduced to iPhone/iPod platform; however, I would not really consider buying Mac with Light Peak, frankly speaking, I'm not a big fan of Mac.

Market (4, Interesting)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556787)

USB dominates the peripherals market because it allows for cheep peripherals.
Monitor cables are specialised to not require the monitor to do much work.
Ethernet cables allow high transfer rates between expensive devices.

What is the market for this?
Will it require "expensive" tech on both ends or will the PC be able to do the lifting?

firewire (2, Insightful)

DaveGod (703167) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556799)

So... What we're trying to imply here is that this is another Firewire: pretty good (arguably better) but inevitably unable to compete with the ubiquitous USB?

Re:firewire (1)

david.emery (127135) | more than 4 years ago | (#29557021)

Not sure what your measure of "unable to compete" is. Firewire is not dead, in fact I think the number of FW800 devices has increased. This is much less than the number of USB devices, but "unable to compete" overstates the current situation. FW800 is sufficiently fast enough for a file server in my home office (but I'm not swapping to those drives, rather it's for shared files.) So Firewire has a nice niche market, generally sustained by its advantages and widespread use for Macs in their niche market :-)

The comments about cables providing power are also apropos, I use an FW charger to charge up my (3rd gen) iPod because it delivers more juice and charges faster than USB. A standard that includes sufficient power to reduce/eliminate wall warts would have substantial traction, I think.

How about a comparison with Light Peak and eSATA. Could eSATA be expanded to handle more than just external disk drives?

Not miniature enough (2, Funny)

DTemp (1086779) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556841)

As soon as the industry settles on Light Peak... Apple will start using the Mini Light Peak connector, which will join the list of other connectors that they minified or adopted:

-Mini DVI
-Micro DVI
-Mini VGA
-Mini Display Port
-Mini Toslink

Re:Not miniature enough (1)

level_headed_midwest (888889) | more than 4 years ago | (#29557413)

How else are they going to gouge you for an adapter to hook an Apple notebook to just about anything besides a USB device if they get rid of all of those other ports?

Where do we draw the line? (-1, Offtopic)

chaboud (231590) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556919)

It declares soda fair game for government intervention (PDF) on the grounds that "market failures" in this area are causing "less-than-optimal production and consumption."' Where do we draw the line?"

Where do we draw the line?

How about back at banning smoking at private establishments (I don't smoke, but it's fair to let people who do make a choice on their own property), or banning foie gras (I live in Chicago, and we've since reversed this stupidity)? The moment that we started in on this over-policing is the moment that we opened up the possibility of banning or taxing because of "market failures" (i.e. The market not doing what one particular party wants). Perhaps our soda isn't keeping us all alive as long, but who's to say that the quality of life afforded by synthesized cola drinks isn't worth the trade-off? And now we'll have the conflicting pressures of federal corn subsidies that make drinks cheap and state taxes that make them expensive, creating an artificial "optimal" price and a rube-goldberg-esque funnel of funds from the federal government to state and local governments?

This feels a lot like imminent domain, with public necessity turning into public benefit turning into public convenience turning into public whim.

Anyone who wants a definition of slippery slope can look at this new cola war as an example.

Why not USB3? (1)

OpenSourced (323149) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556981)

I wonder just why USB3 cannot be used as that one-connector-to-rule-them-all stuff. In fact, anybody knows why monitors aren't offering the USB2 option? It's a bandwidth problem or what? And why is not more widespread the use of USB2 as networking port? Just a matter of speed? USB2 is speedy enough for most networking uses, and USB3 will be faster than most Ethernets. Of course you'd need routers with USB2 connections, but they could start with one or two connections at first and see if people bought it. As I say, perhaps there is perfectly good (read technical) reasons for not having just USB ports in computers nowadays (after all , they *did* remove the mouse connector, so it cannot be a complete conspiracy), but it sounds like one of these standards fights that usually don't end up helping customers.

Anyway, if it's fast, cheap and flexible, welcome. I just hope it doesn't become a second HDMI where you have to pay the cables as if they were solid gold.

we pay for mini-dp to X and now for all ports also (0)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29556993)

we pay for mini-dp to X and now for all ports also will look bad.

This to e-net
This to usb for mouse and keyboard.
This to DVI, VGA, DP, mini-DP, DVI DL
This to sound out
all on one 1 system?

apple is likely to job you and not give the cables for free $15-$30 a cable.

intel buid a hackintosh? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29557049)

intel build a hackintosh? what does that mean?

apple is planing to make os x alot more open?

apple is planing to use more intel parts that may end up a said core i3 system that is stuck with intel gma video?

apple is planing a real desktop tower?

intel is braking the EULA?

Re:intel buid a hackintosh? (2, Informative)

mr_lizard13 (882373) | more than 4 years ago | (#29557311)

I doubt Intel broke an EULA, for what they are worth anyway.

If all this is true, and Apple did ask Intel to develop this initiative, then I'm pretty sure Apple would have been happy to license that version of OS X for development purposes.

In any event, couldn't that motherboard been ripped out of an apple computer?
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