Earlier this week we got a cryptic note from Intel with only the following information:

On Thursday, Feb. 24, Intel will host a “Views at 10” press briefing to discuss a new technology that is about to appear on the market. We can’t provide you with more details at this time, but we believe this is an event that you won’t want to miss.

Having really no clue what a “Views at 10” could possibly be, we signed up for the event and went about our merry way.  Then today we started hearing some substantial rumors about the pending update of the Apple MacBook Pro lineup and the inclusions of Light Peak technology in them.  Though Apple doesn’t have any press event schedule for this same day, the combination of these two bits of news seem to indicate we are finally going to see the release of Light Peak technology to the world.

Intel looking to launch Light Peak tomorrow; Apple brands "Thunderbolt" - General Tech 4
Light Peak seen circa. 2009

First though, two points.  One: Apple had nothing to do with the development of Intel’s Light Peak technology yet many people seem convinced this is the case.  I’m not 100% sure where this started but Intel has reiterated it a few times, a couple to me personally, that they developed the technology and did not do so at the request of Apple.  As far back as September 2009, this point was reiterated by Intel’s top brass.  Two: we already learned at CES in January that the first iteration of Light Peak is in fact, NOT going to use fiber optic cable but will instead use copper for the connection thus negating much of the advantages it proposed.  Regardless, we continue…

One interesting note about the supposed Light Peak implementation from Apple is the branding – apparently they will be calling it “Thunderbolt”.  A wildly ambiguous name that also happens to be a newly released dual-core phone from Verizon, surely this won’t cause any confusion in the market at all.

Intel looking to launch Light Peak tomorrow; Apple brands "Thunderbolt" - General Tech 5
Image source: engadget

The description given for this feature is that it “supports high speed I/O and Mini DisplayPort devices” and that does fit in well with the goals for the Intel Light Peak project.  If you are going to try and global replace things like USB, Firewire, SATA, PCI Express and even display connections, this is a good statement on that functionality.  Apple’s updated MacBook Pros will also integrate the feature in a port that looks IDENTICAL to a mini-DisplayPort connection.

Intel looking to launch Light Peak tomorrow; Apple brands "Thunderbolt" - General Tech 6
Image source: engadget

I am not sure THAT is such a good idea either.

It IS still possible that Thunderbolt and Intel’s Light Peak are two different technologies and are unrelated, but the timing of both the rumors and Intel’s press event tomorrow are definitely pushing us to lean towards “conspiracy.”  Don’t expect Intel to actually announce the implementation with Apple or anything new about the pending changes to the MacBook Pro line though – that just isn’t Apple’s style.