updated 12:20 pm EST, Tue November 30, 2010
Company rumored as early Light Peak adopter
A newly-published patent application may suggest some of Apple's plans for Intel's Light Peak technology. Originally submitted in July, the document is titled Power Adapters For Powering And/Or Charging Peripheral Devices. "More particularly," Apple notes, "the present invention relates to improved techniques for powering and/or charging peripheral devices through a data transmission line."
Adapters using Apple's concept would work "without requiring any additional cables or connectors," and power a peripheral "without requiring a host, peripheral or hub to remain powered on." More significantly, the patent mentions that devices would be able to "operate on buses that do not supply power." The wording is believed to refer to an optical connection type such as Light Peak.
Light Peak is a fiber optic format capable of operating at up to 10Gbps, twice as fast as even USB 3.0. Although it could eventually substitute for standards like USB, it may initially used as a high-speed general I/O system, with the special benefit of improving space use in notebooks. While Intel has said that Light Peak may not arrive in computers and other devices until 2012, recent rumors have hinted that Apple could premiere the technology early, possibly as soon as the first half of 2011.