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Light Peak – The Forthcoming Cabling Standard

Intel recently announced its “Light Peak” technology, a new mode of cabling (put forth by Apple) which will revolutionize the way peripheral devices, displays, etc. interact with your computer’s motherboard. With USB 3.0 looming around the corner (drivers have already been incorporated into the latest Linux kernel v2.6.31), I’m a bit skeptical about how cost effective transitioning to Light Peak will be for the traditional consumer.

The great thing about USB is compatibility. You can take a device which came out in the days of USB 1.1, hook it into a USB 3.0 module, and just plug-and-play. Sure, you won’t be able to take advantage of the tremendous bandwidth, but who cares? We’re talking about backwards compatibility here. In fact, it’s hard to find a peripheral (scanner, printer, mouse, etc.) which does not come with USB as its standard interface.

If Light Peak doesn’t provide a way to accommodate the vast market of USB-driven devices, adoption of the “new standard” may take quite some time.

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