updated 08:25 am EST, Wed February 23, 2011
Leak shows Apple's Thunderbolt IO and 13-inch MBP
Apple's possible plans for Light Peak may have been corroborated by a spate of leaks on Wednesday. Box shots for fscklog have shown a technology nicknamed Thunderbolt that would provide "high-speed I/O" and piggyback on the Mini DisplayPort connector. An accompanying photo of a 13-inch MacBook Pro still in its protective wrapper has shown the connector being virtually identical to Mini DisplayPort but with the Thunderbolt logo nearby, although a rumored third USB port was nowhere to be seen.
While not necessarily Light Peak, the emphasis on speed would support the use of the technology and could reflect Apple's ultimate strategy. Light Peak's 10Gbps of bandwidth piped through a Cinema Display could let it support the display signal, USB, audio and other interfaces through a single cable. A chance exists that Thunderbolt is an entirely new approach.
The box shots also show specs for the 13-inch MacBook Pro that, if true, would be both more and less than expected. Apple would start it out with a 2.3GHz Core i5, giving it a major leap over both the Core 2 Duo and over the rumored 2.1GHz Core i3. It wouldn't come with the 1440x900 resolution display to start, isntead having a 1280x800 panel, but it would have the rumored 320GB hard drive. Intel's HD 3000 graphics, inherent to the Sandy Bridge chip architecture, would replace NVIDIA but should theoretically offer comparable performance to low-end dedicated graphics.
Any new MacBook Pro launch this week would be expected on Thursday and may line up with a claimed Intel press briefing the same day. New 15- and 17-inch models are anticipated and would themselves upgrade to Sandy Bridge-era Core i5 and i7 chips along with newer dedicated video, possibly from AMD. Rumors have circulated of a built-in 16GB SSD boot drive as well as up to 1TB of disk space on the larger two computers, along with a possible option to replace the DVD burner with a second SSD.