Will apple pass on USB3.0 in favor of Lightpeak?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by brendu, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. brendu macrumors 68020

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    #1
    So with the recent news on apple and intel's "lightpeak" and basacally apple asking intel to make this technology, do you guys think apple is going to skip usb 3.0 alltogether? I would assume they will have cards available, maybe third party for the mac pro, but aside from that, my guess is that iMac's, minis, and macbooks will never see it. Do you think usb will become the standard or will apple push lightpeak onto the scene similarly to the way they led the way with the original USB?
     
  2. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #2
    Firewire, which was Apple pushed for, didn't stop USB 2.0 from being added to Macs, so I think we'll see USB 3.0 in Macs despite Light Peak.
     
  3. old-wiz macrumors G3

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    #3
    usb3 will show up in Macs when Intel provides for it in their chipset.
     
  4. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

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    #4
    They will use both. Even if Apple wanted to switch, it could be a repeat of Firewire where peripheral makers don't switch.
     
  5. Apollo33 macrumors regular

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    #5
    I like your wording. Since, it's currently rumored that Intel is delaying the USB 3.0 implementation in its chipset. Most likely to promote Light Peak on its own. Remember, Light Peak has been developed by (and will probably be marketed by) Intel. It's not an Apple-specific product. Sure, Apple may have gone to Intel with the idea of an all-in-one cable... But it's still Intel's product.

    Currently, it looks like USB 3.0 won't be in wide use until 2011, since Intel and AMD might not even have it implemented in their chipsets until late 2010 at the earliest. Yeah, you'll be able to buy USB 3.0 products next year, but what's the point if your computer won't be able to use them?

    Meanwhile Light Peak will be in computers next year (likely Apple products first)... so...

    I think it's POSSIBLE that Apple will include a USB 3.0 slot in 2011 when Intel finally supports it in their chipsets... but that all depends on how big of a demand there is for USB 3.0.

    In addition, Light Peak is supposed to be able to split into FW, USB, and Display connections anyway, right? I mean, the idea is that you reduce the number of ports by using a single Light Peak port for everything. So, couldn't you just have a USB 3.0 device interface with Light Peak? Just like FireWire/DisplayPort/USB 2 devices would?
     
  6. Angelo95210 macrumors 6502a

    Angelo95210

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    #6
    And what about FW 1600 and 3200 ? We all love so much this interface...
     
  7. cawesjmu macrumors 6502

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    #7
    I'm not sure, and maybe I didn't understand your post, but I was under the impression that light peak would replace FW/DP/USB ports. So you'd have 3 LP ports instead of 1 of each (or however many), so you could plug your display into any of the 3. I didn't think you'd have 1 LP port and then a hub that would basically adapt the other ports to LP, but maybe that is the case. Like I said, I'm not sure.
     
  8. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    #8
    What would be super awesome is if lightpeak had connector cables for every other interface. If you have an older device (say firewire 400) all you need is a lightpeak to firewire 400 cable.
     
  9. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #9
    I don't see that happening since Lightpeak is an optical connection and FW (and USB, etc) are electrical connections. You would need an active, powered converter between the computer and the device. It wouldn't be an elegant solution.

    I think the idea of Light Peak is that it's fast enough that it can replace existing interfaces such as USB, Firewire, Ethernet, SATA, DisplayPort, etc, and your computer will just have a bunch of Light Peak ports on the back and inside, and your computer will determine what to use it as based on what you plug into it. I think it's a nice concept, but I just don't know if manufacturers will actually implement it.
     
  10. PeteSky macrumors newbie

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    #10
    Powered LightPeak confirmed

    Actually, Intel spokespersons have said there will be a powered version of LightPeak so converters could be elegant. Also, some scheduled USB3 enabled motherboards have been postponed or cancelled recently suggesting to me that Intel is manuvering behind-the-scenes for LP to largely supplant USB3 - 'head USB3 off at the pass' so to speak.

    I agree it could make things very nice. They have Sony, Intel & Apple so far - that's more than FW had - we'll have to see if or when the others come along.
     
  11. PracticalMac macrumors 68030

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    #11
    Good theories.

    For sure, it is much to early to see what will happen.
     
  12. bmb012 macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Could have sworn that Lightpeak was going to be powered, especially if it's to replace USB for devices that charge while connected.

    My thought was that Lightpeak was made with all in one monitors in mind, basically as a dock for Macbooks and, especially, the iSlate thingy.

    One cable from the Macbook / Tablet to the monitor, USB, FireWire and additional Lighpeak ports on the monitor.
     
  13. ruvil macrumors regular

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    #13
    I highly doubt that lightpeak will come right now since there's no products for it as far as i know which makes it kind of worthless. Perhaps later in the year or next year.
     
  14. dasmb macrumors regular

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    #14
    USB 3.0 seems a more natural upgrade path for tethered iOs devices than LightPeak.

    Therefore, I expect we'll see Apple introduce USB 3.0 across their ENTIRE product line -- as soon as its introduction won't mean sacrificing other design concerns like battery life, ubiquity of ports or overall simplicity.

    Since an add-on card would certainly affect simplicity, the ball's in Intel's court.
     
  15. brendu thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #15
    Wow. nice to see my thread from over a year ago got resurrected. I still think since apple basically came up with the idea for light peak and took it to intel to make it happen, they are going to favor it and push for it. But I do think that they will also use USB 3.0 because it is what most peripherals will use for the next several years. Im just curious when light peak will come out in the macbook pro's.
     
  16. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #16
    I'm not so sure that Apple will go to USB 3, though a lot has to do with the timing of when LP is available, and how quickly USB 3 gets picked up in the mass market.

    I believe that USB 3 is going to cause confusion (which Apple avoids like the plague) with no real benefit to the mainstream market. Most external HDs in use today are USB 2. So, for example, if I buy a new Mac with this "Faster" USB 3 port, then I will want my external HD to work faster when plugged into this new-fangled USB. But, it won't - since it's most likely USB 2. So I go back to store, and now I'm told that i have to buy a new HD - a 'special' external HD. Now my new Mac, that I bought to take advantage of the new USB 3 thingy, costs more.

    This (hypothetical) scenario won't apply to everyone, just the people who know just enough about computers to be dangerous. They kinda know about transfer speeds, but not enough to understand the difference between USB 2 and USB 3. Those of us who understand a bit more, and I'm not claiming to be an expert - just an advanced amateur, have already moved our external USB HDs to eSATA, or (in my case) FW800 if improved transfer speeds were actually worth spending money on.

    One of the things that Apple makes a lot of money from is the perception in the market that a Mac is easy to use. And, Mac users can get pretty upset when simple things don't work out (just check some of the threads here at MR, eh?). Conversely, if you listen to Window's users - you frequently hear them sigh, and mutter about how "it's just one of those computer things". Windows users (and yes I'm stereotyping, big-time) will more likely put up with the USB2/USB3 confusion because they're resigned to things not quite working out. Or, that buying a new computer means an extra trip to the store to buy the other hardware to make the upgrade actually work. But when your computer cost $330 less than a Mac, spending the extra $115 doesn't hurt so much.

    Plus, USB 3 isn't sexy.

    While Light Peak is also going to cause confusion to Mac users (the mass market ones, which is where the money is) .... Apple can make LP sound Sexy .... (wish I knew how to make that word blink). One cable to connect every thing. Even the name "Light Peak" sounds Sexy. Seriously - if you were designing a marketing campaign, would you want to work with USB 3 or Light Peak?

    My prediction is that Apple will debut Light Peak on the Mac Mini and Mac Pro first. The Mac Mini will be part of package that could include either an Apple branded monitor, or working with a 3rd party monitor maker. The Mini will have two LP ports, and that's it for ports. The Monitor will connect to the Mini by LP, and the monitor will act as a powered hub for the legacy USB/FW/etc. By debuting it on a Mini, Apple gets all the tech press excited which will then get picked up by the mainstream press. But they get to iron out the bugs on a relatively low volume product. When the portables are introduced with LP shortly after, there will be a pent up demand from buyers who have been whipped into a frenzy by the reviews that they have read. It will also give the peripheral makers time to start ramping up their product lines.

    I think the Mac Pro will also see it, perhaps just as an expansion card, though I think it more likely that it will be a complete overhaul of the system. Mac Pro users are the ones who can make the most use out of LP. External storage is getting messier and messier to manage, with hubs and expansion cards, and replacing the 2nd optical drive with one more internal HD. It's messy, and Apple hates messy (like the plague - see above).

    The new Mac Mini didn't really need that big of a case makeover, like they one they got last year. Apple could have kept selling the old case with new innards for a lot time to come. Simply popping in a black plastic top would have bumped Mini sales by 30%, I'll bet. I think Apple spent the money on designing the new form factor because they knew they were going to be updating the innards, and that the new innards were close enough to the old layout that the could keep using the new case.

    I think the last update to the Mac Pro was just the opposite. That the new Mac Pro with Light Peak is going to change the form factor so much that they will have to completely redesign the case, so there was no point redesigning it for the last update to 12 cores.

    But I really don't know. I could just be whistling in the wind here. But I am excited about Apple could do with LP. It's been awhile since Apple had a chance to turn the computer industry on it's ear, and I think LP could be a technology that Apple could have a lot of fun with.
     
  17. brendu thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #17
    You had a great post, but this was the best line. I agree, and would love to see what will change on the hardware side of things as a result of a few key players on both the Mac and PC sides adopting lightpeak.
     
  18. nutmac macrumors 68040

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    #18
    You are talking about a temporary thing. Light Peak is also going to require a new enclosure. At 5 Gbps, USB 3 is fast and benchmark after benchmark has shown it to be superior to even eSATA. And because it is backward compatible (albeit by falling back to 2.0 speed), I think it will create less confusion overall.

    And I am not sure why one needs to make interconnects "sexy". The whole point of Light Peak is to become a single connector standard to replace all wired connection, whether it be Ethernet, USB, eSATA, FireWire, DisplayPort, HDMI, and so on. That is an ambitious goal, especially since Intel has not yet figured out how to carry electrical current (like USB can) for powering and charging devices as well as making it work over long cable length.
     
  19. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #19
    Some good points. I think we need, though, to look at this from the point of view of the average consumer. There was a time when the back panel of the average computer had a multitude of different types of ports, and the average user needed a multitude of cables. It was confusing. I remember systems with Parallel ports, SCSI ports, PS/2 ports, Serial ports, VGA ports, and a few more I've forgotten (not counting the audio, fax, ethernet, etc). USB was supposed to eliminate that - and it did a grand job. However, it can't keep up with everything that is being thrown at it. USB3 is not just USB2, made faster. As I understand it, USB3 is a whole new protocol that just happens to fit USB2 plugs. But it won't make USB2 devices work faster, and that is where the confusion will creep in. Plus, while the makers will specify backward compatibility the cords won't be. Think of all the ways to combine USB3 and USB2 ports with USB3 and USB2 devices, and the cables to combine them - and the USB Hubs (both 2 & 3) and think of the ways that someone can get the cables wrong. Like using a USB2 only cable to connect a USB2 device to a USB2 hub. Since the USB3 technology is being sold as backwards compatible, then logically the cables should be interchangeable, eh?

    USB3 adds to the complexity of the cables this time round, not the ports. Add to that the number of video ports now. HDMI, MDP, DVI, DVIX, DP, etc etc In theory, LP can replace those ports as well. Something USB3 can't do.

    So, while USB3 may be (debatably) better than anything else currently available, it isn't what is needed to make a computer with only one type of port. And, in theory, LP is. I think Intel and Apple are not looking at the next generation USB3, but two generations ahead - at LP.

    Because "sexy" is what Apple sells. If we (the consumers) wanted just "the best" we'd all be using OS/2 still. (And I did for many years).

    We don't know what Intel has in fact figured out. All we know is what they have announced. The electrical current issue is probably not a big one. It's just copper wires in the sheath, which is exactly what USB3 was doing. However, I do get your point about the long cable lengths. The data would move just fine, but there'd be no power at the other end. And selling two kinds of cables (powered and un-powered) is exactly the kind of thing I'm arguing that Apple is trying to avoid.
     

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