Intel's Light Peak could get 2011 launch

Intel's Light Peak technology, billed by the company as "the last cable you'll ever need," could be hitting our desktops sooner than anticipated with rumours of an early-2011 launch for the technology.

Light Peak, which Intel demonstrated back in April at the Intel Developer Conference, is an optical communications technology that the company believes can offer a major advantage over competing systems such as USB 3.0 and FireWire: 10Gb/s bi-directional data transfer speeds, rising to 100Gb/s within ten years of launch.

While Light Peak wasn't thought to be ready for commercialisation until at least 2012, a new rumour puts the technology significantly ahead of its original schedule - a 1H 2011 launch is mooted, with the possibility that Light Peak ports will appear even sooner than that.

The rumour comes from, "an industry source familiar with the progress of the technology," who told CNET that Intel is significantly further ahead with Light Peak development than anyone suspected.

It looks like Apple could be the first to benefit from Light Peak. The machine used to demonstrate the technology at IDF was clearly running Mac OS X, and Apple had some input into the technology's design back in 2009.

If Apple does become the first to implement the technology in its Mac, Mac Pro, and MacBook ranges, it could help to popularise Light Peak in much the same way as the company's support of the FireWire standard did - although it wasn't enough for FireWire to win out over the now-ubiquitous USB standard.

With USB 3.0 beginning to take off in mainstream computing, an early launch for Light Peak is almost certainly a requirement if Intel wants its technology to gain any traction at all in the mainstream markets.