Light Peak or USB 3 for your next Mac?

CNET News is reporting that Light Peak is on track to appear in products in the first half of 2011. Light Peak is an optical cable interface, with a high bandwidth of 10Gbit/s (potentially scale up to 100Gbit/2), that is developed as a universal replacement for USB, SCSI, SATA, FireWire, PCI Express and HDMI.

Apple is the one who brought the Light Peak concept to Intel, with Intel developing and producing the technology. It is safe bet that Apple will be among the first to use it on Mac. Light Peak has the potential of becoming universal only when Intel put the technology into its chipset. That’s how USB 2 gained widespread usage when Intel put it into its chipset in 2002.

As for USB 3, Intel is half-hearted in its support as there is no support for USB 3 in Intel chipset yet. Intel is still committed to USB 3 but there are speculation that we will see USB 3 in Intel chipset as far out as 2012. USB 3 is available only in selected models of computers from HP, Dell and Asus. The adoption so far has not been rapid and widespread.

It is evident that Apple and Intel see Light Peak as a replacement for USB 2. We should see Mac sporting Light Peak port as standard from 2011 onwards. Mac will still comes with USB 2 ports during the transition to Light Peak technology, and  we do not expect USB 3 to appear on a Mac.